Week of January 4, 2016

1. Financial Lives of Americans:  Featuring research from the US Financial Diaries project, the first post in a new blog and webinar series explores how the financial lives of low- and middle-income Americans have changed in the past few decades...and how programs and policies designed to help them also need to change. Stanford Social Innovation Review

2. Future of Microfinance: "It’s time to reframe the research questions – setting aside the question of whether 'microfinance' can 'solve poverty' and moving on to a next generation of research which accurately reflects both the nature and the intentions of current financial inclusion practice." NextBillion

3. Banking for Migrants: Lack of identification, strict regulations, and language difficulties often deter large banks from providing services to migrants. But many community-based financial institutions (in America and Europe) are finding new ways to serve migrant populations. The Economist

4. Racial Wealth Gap: Historically discriminatory policies have led to a persistent racial wealth gap in the US. According to 2013 data, the average low-income white family had $375 in savings while the average African-American family had $5. With such a small cushion, even small financial setbacks can be potentially devastating to households.  The New York Times

5. Postal Banking: India Post, the largest post office network in the world, announced plans to operate as a payment bank by the end of the year. It's broad reach can potentially help to increase financial inclusion and coverage for cash transfer programs. Bloomberg

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