Financial Innovations Address Student Loan Debt, Choice Overload and Access to Credit

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Financial product, service and business model ideas unveiled by Filene Research Institute's i3 program address social issues including student loan debt and youth joblessness, choice overload, behavioral economics and access to credit.

Consumer finance think and do tank Filene Research Institute unveiled seven new financial innovations from its i3 program with an infographic today. The product, service and business model ideas for financial institutions address social issues including student loan debt and youth joblessness, choice overload, behavioral economics and access to credit.

Download the infographic summarizing the ideas here: View full concept documents here:

Filene’s i3 program - - develops an innovation competency for credit unions and the next generation of credit union CEOs. Ideas developed in the program since 2003 have changed state laws, improved millions of financial lives and saved credit unions countless dollars while attracting new members. Past ideas tested by Filene include Prize-Linked Savings/Save to Win accounts, Debt in Focus (now SavvyMoney), Savings Revolution and Save Up.

“Now more than ever, creative solutions are needed to solve the challenges that financial institutions and their consumers face,” said Andrew Downin, innovation director at Filene. “By trying new approaches to consumer finance, credit unions are not only expanding their innovation capabilities but also improving consumers’ financial lives.”

Filene recently kicked off further testing for the two following ideas:

Just4You: Research shows - - that too many options lead to lower probability of purchase and decreased consumer satisfaction. Just4You helps financial institutions manage choice overload during new account openings, enabling employees to open accounts for consumers that meet their unique financial needs.

Credit Union Career Corps: Average student debt is now $35,000. At the same time, credit unions struggle to find young adult talent. Credit Union Career Corps incentivizes recent college graduates to explore full-time employment with credit unions by offering upfront stipends to reduce student loan debt.

Other financial innovations introduced in this round of Filene i3 include:

Centsus: a web-based tool where consumers use emoticons to rank how they feel after spending, making them aware of how financial decisions impact emotions

Imminent Death: an interactive tool for credit union employees to easily introduce the importance of creating a basic will with their members

relaunch: an online savings reward program designed to help young adults living with their parents learn how to manage their finances and build nest eggs so they can move out

Social Cowboy: a tool that empowers credit unions to monitor, filter and leverage conversations around financial topics and brands across social networks

The Great Credit Race: a contest platform that helps young adults establish credit scores, motivating them through gaming techniques and financial education

About Filene: Filene Research Institute - - is an independent, consumer finance think and do tank dedicated to scientific and thoughtful analysis about issues affecting the future of credit unions, retail banking and cooperative finance. Founded 25 years ago, Filene is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Nearly 1,000 members make the nonprofit’s research, innovation and impact programs possible.

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Kate Lawton
since: 06/2009
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