This series documents the development and early implementation of Change Machine’s fintech assessment and recommendation process. It also marks the launch of #TechForEquity with our community of practice — a movement of practitioners wielding fintech to build financial security with their participants, and holding the fintech sector accountable to their success.
Part I – A New Standard of Fintech Equity: Developing Our Seal of Inclusivity
For as long as it has existed as an industry, fintech — financial products and services powered by technology — has developed solutions that primarily serve white men and the upper middle class. It’s of little wonder when you consider the lack of diversity within the industries fintech is built upon. From overt redlining to the lack of representation in today’s financial services C-suite, financial products across platforms have not been designed with Black and Brown people in mind.
Part II – Insights Through Implementation: The SOI at Work
Change Machine’s Seal of Inclusivity (SOI) is designed with the insights and needs of our customers — Black and Brown women navigating financial insecurity — front of mind. The implementation of our SOI has demonstrated important lessons about how fintech leaders can meaningfully improve financial security, shedding light on what works for customers, which products are recommended, and what products are used most frequently.
Part III – Highlighting Harmful Fintech Products
Change Machine’s Seal of Inclusivity (SOI) is designed not only to elevate products that build financial security, but also to highlight harmful and exclusive practices in the fintech space. Having conveyed our SOI’s vetting standards for products that advance equity, we now turn to identifying those practices and products that harm customers — including, and especially, those targeting vulnerable populations.
Part IV – The Consumer Protection Imperative
When it comes to helping participants build financial security, practitioners have thus far remained with their feet planted firmly in the brick-and-mortar space, where financial products and services are well understood. In traditional financial coaching, helping a customer navigate the opening of checking accounts and other savings vehicles is routine. And in that realm, predatory or wealth-stripping products—from payday loans to high-interest credit cards—are easy to identify, flag, and protect against.
To learn more about our efforts to explore the impact of fintech on customers’ financial security, contact Megan Bolado, Assistant Director of Fintech Partnerships.