Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ford Foundation Recognizes Self-Help, Financial Services Visionary

Nine million American households don't have a savings or a checking account.  Another 21 million rely on predatory lending, costly alternative financial service providers such as payday lenders or check-cashing outlets.

Martin Eakes did something about it, and today the Ford Foundation recognized him as a Social Visionary for his work at Self Help.

The Foundation notes that mainstream financial markets fail to meet the needs of poor and marginalized populations for three reasons.
  1. Financial products and services offered typically are inappropriate for low-income households.
  2. The infrastructure or delivery system is unresponsive to their needs.
  3. Policies and regulatory systems are poorly designed and implemented.
GIS systems should be playing a vital role here, particularly for mainstream institutions who simply need to understand their communities better, and understand how their delivery systems are working and not working to reach them.  There is huge potential to undercut the predatory lenders by using GIS to develop and deliver valuable products that save people money and are a good long term investment for the institution.

We salute Self Help, and it is a high priority at RPM to help institutions, communities and regulators and legislators to use GIS and data resources to develop innovative ways to far better serve unbanked and under-served individuals and families.

No comments:

Post a Comment