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.
- Charles Kenny and Justin Sandefur of the Center for Global Development have a “long read” in Foreign Policy, asking, “Can Silicon Valley Save the World?”
- The move to a cashless economy has been much slower than many advocates have predicted. Case-in-point, that a sandwich store in San Francisco, tech hub that it is, has gone cashless is actually news.
- 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.
- Recently the New York Times ran two related opinion pieces on poverty – one focusing on how government anti-poverty programs ignore childless singles and the other by Joseph Stiglitz on the growing challenge of addressing inequality.
- 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.