Financial Inclusion has been embraced and elevated as a priority policy reform issue on the global development agenda in recent years. Sadly, the same cannot be said in the United States. There are multiple agencies in the U.S. at local, state and federal levels that are demonstrating leadership and dedicating resources to expand household access to financial education, products, services and consumer protections both here and abroad. These efforts, while extremely important, are only loosely coordinated, follow no overarching strategy, and remain largely separate from (and irrelevant to) the dominant framework and narrative that shape the country’s domestic and international economic development priorities and agenda.

The Aspen Institute Financial Security Program would like to develop a national policy for financial inclusion in the United States. They asked the SIPA Capstone team to assist with this effort by:

  • Identify best practices in building national coalitions around financial inclusion
  • Understand the current landscape of U.S. financial inclusion initiatives to identify existing leading actors among the private, government, and nonprofit sectors
  • Develop new ideas for broadening the coalition, particularly from the private sector
  • Establish a roadmap to advocate for this proposed coalition strategy among key stakeholders needed to develop a comprehensive policy for financial inclusion in the United States.

The Capstone team mapped out several different strategic options for how to successfully position the idea of creating a comprehensive financial inclusion strategy. They identified key stakeholders, such as employers of large numbers of low-income employees, fintech companies, mission-driven venture capital firms, global consulting firms, tech giants, prominent national security experts and key bipartisan constituent groups. The team carefully defined the scope and structure of the proposed coalition, determined capital needs and resources, established a data-driven approach for evaluation, recommended ways to garner attention of the public and media (i.e. through conferences and publications), as well as established ways to leverage key partners within Aspen’s network.