In March 2022 the US annual inflation rate reached 8.5% – the highest level recorded since December 1981. Inflation, together with the pandemic, and rising gas prices have taken a toll, with 47% of low-income consumers reporting in a recent study that they do not feel financially healthy.
These were the sobering statistics with which Theodora Lau – Founder of Unconventional Ventures – opened a discussion on financial wellness, at the most recent edition of Fintech Talents North America. Theodora was joined by Michael Haney, Head of Digital Core at Technisys, Dana Wilson, CEO & Founder of Chip, and David Reiling, Chairman and CEO at Sunrise Bank, to share their views on this issue, which, as the cost of living continues to rise disproportionately to wages, is now more important than ever.
Their conversation explores how we can better support today’s consumers in reducing debt, taking control of their money, and achieving financial goals. How can financial institutions leverage new technologies and ‘Fintech for Good’, to deliver positive impacts to customers everywhere? How can we ensure financial services are extended to underserved individuals and groups in society, to close existing wealth gaps?
As Michael Haney explains, “Banks have historically not focused on financial health and have always struggled to profit from the segments who may not hold high balances, which steers their focus towards the wealthy. This is partly due to the high cost-per-account of their traditional business models based on expensive physical branches and technologies, and a dependency on human labour. They have focused on selling products and processing transactions, not providing guidance or education to help customers reach financial literacy.”
But as new technologies and much more agile methods of innovation continue to sweep the financial services sector, solutions targeted to those overlooked segments have become both possible and profitable. “The good news is we have made a lot of progress around access and fairness,” Michael says, “but we still have a long way to go to make banking both simple and automated for everyone.”
To find out what our panel think the next steps are towards greater financial wellness, watch the full panel discussion below.
Look out for all the latest updates on this year’s Fintech Talents Festival – coming to The Brewery, London on the 14th & 15th November 2022. This year you can look forward to content on six stages, covering fintech, embedded finance, community banking, open finance, digital identity, DeFi and more.