Center for Financial Services Innovation Convenes Innovators for the First Bay Area Financial Capability Development Lab in Collaboration with Charles Schwab Bank and Charles Schwab Foundation

Two-day session aims to advance local strategies to spur behavioral changes and improve financial outcomes for low-income, underserved consumers

Monday, September 26, 2011 10:42 am PDT



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"But collaboration across organizations is key to making real, lasting change. CFSI’s Development Lab is a great way to make two plus two equal five."

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) today launched the Bay Area Financial Capability Innovators Development Lab in collaboration with Charles Schwab Bank and Charles Schwab Foundation. The initiative offers peer-learning and review opportunities to a small group of leading Bay Area nonprofit innovators to strengthen their capacity, sophistication, and efficiency in delivering solutions that promote the financial capability of underserved consumers.

Five nonprofits were selected to participate due to their innovative projects that combine relevant, ongoing and actionable guidance, use of technology, and application of behavioral economics concepts. The meeting will offer participants the opportunity to share and obtain feedback on their strategies for promoting financial capability while at the same time furthering the dialogue on how to collectively move the financial education field forward. Ultimately, the knowledge-sharing and peer review of projects will assist participants in providing access to quality financial products with improved educational tools that can help underserved consumers better manage their finances.

The five nonprofits selected to participate are Mission Asset Fund, Mission SF Community Financial Center, Opportunity Fund, SF EARN, and Self-Help. The projects they will present for peer review and analysis are:

  • Mission Asset Fund’s Cestas Populares program, a peer loan program coupled with product-specific peer-led education, to help immigrants build credit and manage credit wisely.
  • Mission SF Community Financial Center’s MY Path Initiative, which connects vulnerable youth to financial products and education.
  • Opportunity Fund’s Start2Save, a micro-savings partnership helping unbanked families gain long‐term financial preparedness skills while building emergency “buffer” savings.
  • SF EARN’s Saving California, a scalable savings instrument targeting low-income consumers, which incorporates a prize‐linked incentive structure.
  • Self‐Help’s In‐Line Financial Education, which spurs financial behavioral change within underbanked families by helping consumers move from check-cashing services to account ownership.

“CFSI, as an outside third‐party and leading national expert on financial services for the underbanked and new approaches to promoting financial capability, is well‐positioned to bring together organizations in a local market like the Bay Area to engage in a deeper dialogue to advance these projects” said Sarah Gordon, director, CFSI Advisory Services and Nonprofit Investments. “Each of the innovative programs promises not only to benefit thousands of underserved consumers in the Bay Area, but to also catalyze change across the U.S. and throughout the industry.”

“We are very pleased to be supporting this work,” said Paul Woolway, president of Charles Schwab Bank. “The Development Lab provides a rich opportunity to exchange best practices, hear new ideas and gather insights on how we can each deepen the impact we’re making in our communities.”

“Helping people make strides toward financial health and well-being is something many of us strive to do every day,” added Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, president of Charles Schwab Foundation. “But collaboration across organizations is key to making real, lasting change. CFSI’s Development Lab is a great way to make two plus two equal five.”

For more information about the Bay Area Financial Capability Innovators Development Lab, please contact Sarah Gordon at or visit

About CFSI

The Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) is the nation's leading authority on financial services for underserved consumers. Through insights gained by producing original research; promoting cross sector collaboration; advising organizations and companies by offering specialized consulting services; shaping public policy; and investing in nonprofit organizations and start-ups, CFSI delivers a deeply interconnected suite of services benefiting underserved consumers. Since 2004, CFSI has worked with leaders and innovators in the business, government and nonprofit sectors to transform the financial services landscape. For more on CFSI, go to

About Charles Schwab

The Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE:SCHW) is a leading provider of financial services, with more than 300 offices and 8.2 million client brokerage accounts, 1.44 million corporate retirement plan participants, 754,000 banking accounts, and $1.65 trillion in client assets as of July 31, 2011. Through its operating subsidiaries, the company provides a full range of securities brokerage, banking, money management and financial advisory services to individual investors and independent investment advisors. Its broker-dealer subsidiary, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (member SIPC,, and affiliates offer a complete range of investment services and products including an extensive selection of mutual funds; financial planning and investment advice; retirement plan and equity compensation plan services; referrals to independent fee-based investment advisors; and custodial, operational and trading support for independent, fee-based investment advisors through its Advisor Services division. Independent investment advisors are not owned, affiliated with or supervised by Schwab. Its banking subsidiary, Charles Schwab Bank (member FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender), provides banking and mortgage services and products. More information is available at and

About Charles Schwab Foundation

The Charles Schwab Foundation is a nonprofit public benefit corporation, classified by the IRS as a charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation is neither a part of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (member SIPC) nor its parent company, The Charles Schwab Corporation. Its mission is to educate, volunteer and advocate on behalf of those in need so that everyone has the opportunity to achieve financial well-being. More information is available at (0911-6184)


Media Contacts:
Maris Bish
Specialist, Marketing and Communications
T: 312-881-5847
Sarah Bulgatz
Charles Schwab
T: 415-667-0328

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