Week of October 18, 2013

This week we explore whether technology is really a development silver bullet, if banks are too costly to absorb the unbanked, and two very different innovations in financial services in San Francisco.

  • As the movement to bank the unbanked grows, Lisa Servon reminds us that the costs of “formal” banking services are often even higher than the costs of checkcashers and other non-traditional services.
  • University of Chicago social scientist Harold Pollack takes “rules of thumb” to a whole new level, claiming that all the financial advice you’ll ever need can fit on a 4x6 index card.
  • San Francisco-based Mission Asset Fund brings documentation and guarantee services to the traditional lending circle model to help Latino residents build credit. A recent profile on NPR’s Marketplace highlights the hybrid formal-informal approach to financial services.
  • After you pay for your sandwich with your phone, you might be able to walk next door to the drug store and do all of your banking – Walgreens announced it will begin providing financial services at 8,541 locations.

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