CFSI: The Coolest Organization You’ve Never Heard Of

The banking industry is no stranger to acronyms. If it can be abbreviated into a catchy acronym within the Financial Services sector, you can go ahead and bet that it will be done.

Here’s an acronym that I bet you aren’t familiar with- CFSI.

CFSI stands for the Center of Financial Services Innovation. I have previously written blog posts related to innovation, and I am further excited to explore innovation in the Financial Services space as it relates to regulatory changes—but enough about me.

Based in Chicago, CFSI was founded in 2002 as an output of a research project initiated by the Ford Foundation via ShoreBank. The focus of said research was to examine low income consumers, specifically the gap that existed between the financial services products that they might need and what was actually provided by bank for them. The study found that many Americans (think millions!) lacked access to affordable financial services products that would provide a short term opportunity to combat the paycheck-to-paycheck living. The study also found a large gap with reasonably priced products, services and education that would bolster long-term opportunities for financial security and soundness. The financial health of consumers being a paramount concern, CFSI began its undertaking to alleviate the financial services product supply/ demand gap for consumers and inspire innovative thought leadership for consumer financial health.

CFSI was recently in the news announcing a partnership with J.P Morgan Chase to embark on a $30 million Innovation Lab. (Yes, I carefully spelled out the word million so you would not go cross-eyed from all the zeroes.)

This Innovation Lab will be a 5-year initiative for CFSI called the Financial Solutions Lab. There are three specific areas that CFSI will be focused on for innovation efforts for consumers: savings, credit, and asset building. The lab will work on tech events to create, test, scale and improve products and strategies that will be used to help Americans stop living paycheck-to-paycheck.

I don’t know about you, but I am thrilled about what this could mean for consumers and the banking industry. Here at West Monroe Partners, we take innovation very seriously- even earmarking funds each year for our innovation network to incent thinking outside the box for our clients. Knowing that changes are on the horizon for the banking industry, we here at West Monroe are excited to be some of the industry leaders for CFSI ideas that are innovated!

Phone: 312-602-4000
222 W. Adams
Chicago, IL 60606
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