Financial Well-Being

“Income is how you get out of poverty; assets are how you stay out.” How do we build policies, programs, and products that reduce systematic inequality and advance financial security for all?

A woman leads a credit building class at Stephens Creek Crossing, a Hope 6 property owned and operated by Home Forward.

An Opportunity for Housing Providers to Help Renters Build Credit

Of the 987 low-income renters whose rents were reported through a pilot program, 79 percent saw their VantageScore increase by an average of 23 points, and 15 percent moved into a lower credit score risk tier.

Valuing Black Lives and Black Cities

Andre M. Perry’s Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities reveals the web of historical and contemporary socioeconomic barriers that maintain the racial wealth divide and does this through personal narrative, history, and an exploration of a wide array of social issues.

Keeping Justice in Mind as We Talk Asset-Building

I attended my first ever Assets Learning Conference, put on by CFED last week, and I have to say it was mighty impressive. And I was particularly pleased to see that economic justice and things like reforming the tax code to be less regressive and reward savings by low- and middle-income Americans, rather than mostly […]
Small American flag with fringed edges attached to a wire stick.

Why Giving Up on Homeownership Is Giving In

These ideas aren’t new, but pulling them together in a collective, coherent way will push back against those who, like their predecessors of 80, 70, 60 and 50 years ago, would deny long-term stability to those for reasons more than just the color of their money.

Safe Banking for Seniors

To support older adults to safely age in community, we need to consider what they need out of banking—and what they need to be protected from.

Food Banks: Another Crisis Casualty?

Last week, when a prominent and long-standing central New Jersey soup kitchen went to the newspapers as a last resort to inform the public...

Financial Counseling and Coaching Need to be Professionalized

What happens to families who are financially vulnerable and rely upon free financial counseling and coaching services to get out of debt or repair their credit score?

Disappearing Act

Facing financial difficulties as new technology takes customers away, the United States Postal Service reviewed 3,300 branches to find those that could be deemed disposable. In low-income communities, just how disposable are the final 162?

Not All Asian Elderly Are Well Off

Too many of us have the misconception that elderly Asian Americans live a charmed life that is financially secure with strong family ties. This isn’t accurate.

Making Loans to Help Formerly Incarcerated People Get Back on Their Feet

CDFIs and nonprofits are figuring out how to help formerly incarcerated people build credit histories and access capital in order to get their lives going.

Catch-22: The Tortuous Path to Home Repair Help

Mary Stimpson was supposed to be a high-priority candidate for assistance repairing her roof and furnace. Instead she languished for years without heat until some advocates went above and beyond. 
A ripple in water.

The Ripple Effects of Income Volatility

Research shows a connection between the financial instability of families and the economic health of communities.
A high school graduate who saved for college with the help of FUEL Education, now called Inversant.

In Which a Skeptic Is Won Over to Child Savings Accounts

While I am a firm believer in equal access to higher education for all, it’s over-emphasized in our individualistic culture as a solution to society’s woes.

The Reports are In: Homeownership Rising, Renters Suffering, Income Gaps Growing

City Life, Homeownership, and the American Dream Americans' impressions of cities are improving, according to Fannie Mae's 1997 National Housing Survey, City Life, Homeownership, and...
A woman and man stand together smiling in front of their new home in North Carolina. They received a loan not based on credit scores, but on character.

Challenging the Almighty Credit Score

A majority of mainstream lenders base loan approvals on a hotly debated three-digit score. Are there better, fairer ways to assess risk?
This Opa-locka, Florida resident had his loan request approved based on his character and not his credit score.

When a Person’s Character Trumps Their Credit Score

Some CDFIs approve loans based on a person’s character instead of their credit score. But they only recommend doing so when you know the applicant.

Income Is How You Get Out of Poverty, Assets Are How You Stay Out

In our work to build communities of opportunity where low-income people and people of color can thrive, we must acknowledge that income is how you get out of poverty, assets are how you stay out.
home with for sale sign in foreground

Is the Housing Market the Answer to the Racial Wealth Gap?

In discussions around closing the racial wealth gap, we should be reminded that a very large portion of wealth gained by white Americans should be seen as ill-gotten.

CRA Modernization:  A Critical Moment for Underserved Neighborhoods

The Community Reinvestment Act and the Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act hold great promise for the creation of a more financially inclusive nation, but both depend on critical "moments in time" in Congress that will determine whether they become good laws or are weakened beyond recognition

Extending a Bank Branch to the Community

The systemic closing of bank branches in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods is followed by payday lenders, pawnshops, and check cashing services stepping in to fill the void.