Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘financial’

The Providence-based Capital Good Fund, which helps low-income folks get on their feet financially, has been testing an interesting fund-raising idea. Participating artists donate to the Capital Good Fund half the proceeds of a work that they sell through the fund’s platform. The art offerings change every few weeks. I include one example below, and there are more at https://squareup.com/market/cgfund. The selections feature a range of styles. Some works are representational, others impressionistic or abstract.

The organization’s website explains its mission: “Capital Good Fund is a nonprofit, certified Community Development Financial Institution that takes a holistic approach to fighting poverty. We offer small loans and one-on-one Financial & Health Coaching to hard-working families in America. Our mission is to provide equitable financial services that create pathways out of poverty.” More here and here.

The Rhode Island Foundation posts at its own blog about its latest partnership with the Capital Good Fund, an initiative designed to overcome the incentives that drive people to costly payday lenders. Read about that here.

Art: Carol C. Young
Barn on Robin Hill, 11″ x 11″ Giclée, limited edition signed print

Read Full Post »

I am psyched. I blogged a while back about UBS banker Geoff Hargadon, who is also a conceptual artist with a crazy sense of humor.

After Brandeis University’s then president made noises about selling the art collection of the Rose Museum, Hargadon put a sign outside on the grass: “Cash For Your Warhol.” It looked like the signs on telephones poles or in abandoned lots that lure the unwary into deals too good to be true.

Hargadon has put his signs up hither and yon, like the street artist Banksy in a way, or Shepard Fairey.

Yesterday I noticed one in the Boston financial district as I waited for the light to change. It’s at the corner of Congress and Franklin streets. I came back today and took a picture. Anyone want to call the number?

 

Read Full Post »

Recently the Economist magazine offered a pretty comprehensive summary of efforts that government entities, nonprofits, and banks have made to get people who do not use banks (the unbanked) into the banking system. The push is not only because banks want customers. In fact, many of the new programs for reaching the unbanked require banks to make big concessions.

The bigger concern is that low-income people and immigrants  get taken advantage of by payday lenders, check cashers, and the like.

One program that is now in several U.S. cities actually started with the innovative Bank On San Francisco. Bank On San Francisco emerged to meet a need. First, a broad range of stakeholder groups evaluated why low-income people often preferred using payday lenders. Having found that the customers liked the hours, locations, and apparent clarity about costs, the groups developed a system that could meet more needs. (In New Haven the police were involved in a similar effort because too many immigrants carried all their cash on their persons, and that led to too many muggings.)

I’m interested in this issue, and so I was intrigued by a NY Times story on traveling tellers rural India.

“Swati Yashwant, a 29-year-old mother of one, is part of a growing legion of roving tellers intent on providing bank accounts to the nearly 50 percent of India’s 300 million households that do not have them. Using a laptop computer, wireless modem and fingerprint scanner, Ms. Yashwant opens accounts, takes deposits and processes money transfers for farmers and migrant workers in this small town 70 miles south of Mumbai, India’s financial capital.

“To reduce the risk of robbery or theft, no transaction by law may exceed 10,000 rupees (about $212). And in practice, many amount to no more than a dollar or two. But with the bulk of India’s population living in villages that have never had a bank branch, Ms. Yashwant, with her electronic devices, is a missionary of financial modernity.” Read more here.

The Indian idea looks like one that might be gainfully imported to the United States.

Read Full Post »

Have you been reading about Elizabeth Warren, the temporary head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau? People say she is too controversial to be approved by the Senate and that maybe her employee, Raj Date, a former banker, would be a good compromise candidate. Maybe so, but I just want to tell you about the extraordinary consumer advocate that I know Elizabeth Warren to be.

As a professor at Harvard Law School and an expert on bankruptcy, she has worked tirelessly to reverse the erosion of the of the middle class and lower-income families that has occurred over the last few decades. The CFPB was really based on her work, and she is the right person for the job. Growing up among a lot of older brothers, she learned to argue for herself and be persuasive. I have sat in meetings and heard her talk about her research and outreach, and my jaw just dropped. She is so passionate, and her arguments are so clear and incisive. She is capable of persuading many others who think they have different positions, because she always can find the common interest. But I think the country needs a consumer advocate who doesn’t back down.

Elizabeth Warren has a powerful effect on people. One day several years ago, I was standing in a grocery checkout line and by chance I overheard the cashier telling a customer that when she was thinking of filing for bankruptcy, she contacted Elizabeth Warren and received energetic help — for free. Later she would e-mail Warren anytime and get a response and advice. Probably Warren can’t answer such e-mails now, but I will check with that cashier next time I see her.

If Elizabeth Warren hired Raj Date, then he is a good guy. But if he is a real consumer advocate, I don’t see that his chances of being approved by the Senate are any greater than hers.

Comments may be sent to suzannesmom@lunaandstella.com. Luna & Stella is apolitical, but Suzanne said I could write about anything that interests me, and that is what I have been doing.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: