New Report Reveals Concerning Data on Increasing Number of ALICE Households

ALICE is an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. These households have incomes above the Federal Poverty Level but struggle to afford basic household necessities. In the words of Indiana United Ways Board Chair, Ron Turpin, “ALICE gets up each day to go to work, but still faces financial barriers – working jobs that offer no healthcare, vacation, or paid sick leave. These workers hold jobs that are critical to the success and vitality of our communities, yet they often struggle to afford food, rent, child care, and transportation, and have little left over for saving and investing.”

Helping Families Thrive Through Financial Coaching

For the past decade, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national community development organization with an office in Indianapolis, has cultivated an asset-building model called the Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) that bundles one-on-one financial coaching and employment services to help low-wealth families move closer to financial independence.  FOC services are delivered by highly trained coaches in familiar settings – typically organizations with deep roots in the neighborhoods they serve.  Despite good results from this one-on-one approach and people’s stated desired to continue working with a coach, it is often difficult to retain them in a long-term coaching relationship.  To that end, LISC has worked with the Common Cents Lab at Duke’s University’s Center for Advanced Hindsight to test an approach to improved coaching retention based on the principles of behavioral economics.

Community Loan Centers: Informational Webinar with Matt Hull

Community Loan Centers (CLC) exist to provide an alternative, fairly-priced loan program to low-income families. On Wednesday, August 29, the Network hosted a free webinar featuring special guest Matt Hull, executive director of the Texas Association of Community Development Corporations, examining how CLCs are helping families in 16 markets across seven states. Click below to view the full webinar.

Hoosiers Not Saving Enough for Retirement

Are you saving enough for retirement? Many of us believe we are but, unfortunately, statistics show that’s just not the case here in Indiana.

According to a National Financial Capability Study, research participants were asked five questions covering aspects of economics and finance encountered in everyday life. Only 35 percent of Hoosiers (and 37 percent of U.S. adults) could correctly answer 4 or 5 out of 5.

CFPB Acting Director Mulvaney Joins Payday Lenders to Push Pause on Payday Rule

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau joined two payday lender associations — the Consumer Financial Service Association of America and the Consumer Service Alliance of Texas — in a motion to push pause on pending litigation to block implementation of the CFPB’s payday rule. In the same motion, they sought a delay of the rule’s compliance date of August 19, 2019.

CFPB Announces Intent to End Public Access to Complaint Database

According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, Mick Mulvaney, acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, announced his intent to end public access to the Bureau’s complaint database. Consumers use the database to file complaints against financial companies, and the CFPB publishes these complaints for public use. “I don’t see anything in here that says I have to run a Yelp for financial services sponsored by the federal government,” Mulvaney said.

How Well Does Indiana Protect Consumers from Unfair and Deceptive Business Practices?

INDIANAPOLIS– State Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices (UDAP) laws prohibit deceptive practices in consumer transactions, such as sales of cars and other goods, loans, home improvements, utility contracts, and mortgage transactions. A new report from the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) finds that while a strength of Indiana’s UDAP statute is that it has broad prohibitions of deceptive and unconscionable acts, the statute has a number of weaknesses.

Applying the success of 'promotores de salud' to personal finance

During the 1960s, an alternative model for delivering health education to "hard-to-reach populations, traditionally excluded racial/ethnic groups, and other ... underserved communities" was gathering steam. The "instructors" of health education were called promotores de salud ("promoters of health"). Rather than being health care professionals, promotores were lay community members who received specialized training to provide basic health education. The practice was, and remains, especially popular in Latino communities where citizenship, language, and familiarity with the health care system are common barriers to accessing care. The core objective of the promotora is to educate target audiences about health issues affecting their community and provide guidance in accessing health care resources. 

The application of the promotora model from a health care application to a financial literacy application shows promise as an alternative model to deploy financial education to these same "hard-to-reach populations, traditionally excluded racial/ethnic groups, and other ... underserved communities."

Economic growth? Nation- and statewide only some are reaping the benefits

Tuesday, February 6 marked the release of the 2018 Prosperity Now Scorecard. Issued annually, the Scorecard is a comprehensive resource for data on household financial health and policy recommendations to help put everyone in our country on a path towards prosperity. It ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia across five issue areas: Financial Assets & Income, Businesses & Jobs, Homeownership & Housing, Health Care, and Education. The Scorecard also separately assesses states on the strength of policies to expand economic opportunity. The Scorecard is accompanied by a main findings report titled “Whose Bad Choices? How Policy Precludes Prosperity and What We Can Do About It?”

Indiana Assets & Opportunity Network Statement on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Payday Rule Reconsideration

On Tuesday, January 16, the effective date of the “Payday, Vehicle Title, and Certain High-Cost Installment Loans” rule, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a statement, indicating it would engage in a rule-making process to reconsider its Payday Rule. The Indiana Assets & Opportunities Network (the Network) sees this as a significant step backward in consumer protections for low-income households.