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Commonwealth Collaborates With JPMorgan Chase to Boost Emerging Technology Innovations for Financially Vulnerable Americans

Collaboration to Address the Challenges and Opportunities That Emerging Technologies Present to Lower- and Moderate-Income People’s Financial Lives.

Today, Commonwealth and JPMorgan Chase announced their collaboration to address the challenges and opportunities that emerging technologies present to lower- and moderate-income people’s financial lives. As part of the two-year initiative, Commonwealth will conduct research, understand and document the financial landscape for financially vulnerable people, examining usage patterns of emerging technologies with a focus on how they garner trust.

Emerging technology is already shaping the financial landscape, and COVID-19 has only accelerated its disruption. 64% of financial services executives expect to become mass adopters of AI and 77% expect AI to be an essential driver across the industry within two years. Lower-income workers are already experiencing barriers to financial services. Commonwealth data shows 43% of lower income workers do not have a savings account. But as fintechs and social impact innovators progress towards folding technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and big data analytics into their products, a major risk exists.

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If the needs of financially vulnerable, lower- and moderate-income Americans are not addressed, our financial system will become even more fractured. But if they are, the financial landscape could shift to include new people and drive widespread financial security and opportunity.

“Emerging technology will play a central role in the post-COVID economy–but the question is, will this hurt or help America’s most financially vulnerable?” said Commonwealth Co-Founder and Executive Director Timothy Flacke. “A time of disruption provides an opportunity to include new people in the financial system–but only if technology is intentionally designed and distributed based on a thorough understanding of the needs and aspirations of these customers.”

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This initiative builds on Commonwealth’s prior work with JPMorgan Chase, which tested savings tools for lower-wage workers. Commonwealth will research, understand and document the financial landscape for financially vulnerable people, examining usage patterns of emerging technologies with a focus on how they garner trust. The initiative will examine how emerging technologies can address acute financial challenges faced by financially vulnerable people during COVID-19, and on the path to recovery.

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Data will be disaggregated by race, gender and age, and will consider the role of place, recognizing that economic disruptions often have different impacts across communities. As part of this effort, fintech and nonprofit innovators will field test research findings on the ground with their financially vulnerable consumers to produce more accurate, nuanced insights.

Commonwealth will produce tools and resources that inform and influence fintech and social impact innovators to harness the power of emerging technologies like big data analytics and artificial intelligence in a way that addresses the needs of financially vulnerable Americans–transforming the landscape for decades to come. Importantly, the project will include discussions and collaboration with key stakeholders, fintechs and experts in emerging technology and ultimately findings will be disseminated through digital assets and events including a private stakeholder convening and a public webinar.

Commonwealth has a long track record of helping financially vulnerable people build savings and financial security. For the past 20 years, the organization has built innovative solutions that make people financially secure and work towards financial opportunity for all, helping people accumulate over $3B in savings.

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