Mapping Financial Opportunity
Drs. Terri Friedline (Director of Financial Inclusion at AEDI) and Mathieu Despard (University of Michigan) are undertaking new research in 2016 that aims to unveil the landscape of financial opportunity across the United Sates. With a generous $240,000 grant from MetLife Foundation, Mapping Financial Opportunity explores community and structural explanations of financial inclusion and health by asking where different types of financial services are located and how the array of services within communities may enable or hinder individuals’ financial inclusion and health. In other words, the extent to which banks, credit unions, payday lenders, and post offices are located within a community may relate to how an individual pays his/her bills, saves money, or takes out loans. The findings can inform national policy efforts to widen and deepen financial inclusion and health that have been undertaken by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), US Department of the Treasury, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Reserve System, US Postal Service, Offices of Financial Empowerment, Community Development Financial Institutions, and others. The findings will be reported in an interactive, web-based map—one of the first of its kind in the US—in which policymakers, regulators, consumer advocates, and service providers can search by zip code to quickly take the pulse of financial opportunity within their communities. The map, designed in partnership with New America, will allow users to assess the types, concentrations, and qualities of financial services within communities and how these services relate to financial inclusion and health.