Last week EVERFI had the opportunity to attend the EMERGE Financial Health Forum hosted by the Center for Financial Services Innovation. The focus of the conference was financial health, as the need to address financial health through thoughtful solutions has become critical. Nearly two-thirds of Americans do not have $500 in savings, and 138 million people do not engage with financial institutions, relying instead on fringe banking, check cashing, and other unhealthy financial options.

Coming out of EMERGE, we were left with 3 main takeaways:

1. We need to collaborate

The state of financial health is a critical issue and we are grateful that CFSI convened financial institutions to discuss financial health solutions. We are thrilled to be part of the conversation as a recognized financial health leader by the CFSI Financial Health Network, providing education as a mechanism for improving financial health at scale.

Throughout the conference, we discussed the power of education and the best practices and solutions available to financial institutions. We believe in the network around improving financial capability and this conference was a great start. This is a collaborative effort — we all want to solve the deficit in financial health.

2. Choose solutions designed with the consumer in mind

There are many sources out there that teach financial education but very few that are designed for the learner. Printable worksheets or PDFs are easily outdated and hard to maintain. An online solution that reaches consumers where they are is necessary to make a dent in the mission to improve the financial capability of consumers and communities. Start thinking about ways your financial institution can partner with providers that can help you scale your education efforts and reach the consumers that need it most.

3. The C-Suite is invested in financial health

Financial health has long-term benefits for organizations, but sometimes it’s hard to prioritize because organizations are inclined to focus on priorities with more immediately tangible outcomes. However, in the long run, financial capability solutions will help deepen brand loyalty and improve the financial health of consumers who will then be more likely to bank with the institution for years to come. CVS, for example, decided to stop selling cigarettes in 2014, acknowledging that while the decision would likely reduce revenue in the short-term, in the long-run, the decision would establish what CVS stands for: health care and improving the health of their customers.

 

We have a long way to go with improving the financial capability of all Americans but our goal is to join and convene a network of partners who together can drive change. EMERGE was a great way to participate in the financial health discussion  and highlight the critical need of consumers. It’s critical that we continue the conversation.

We look forward to EMERGE 2019 and want to thank CFSI for recognizing EVERFI as a “Financial Health Leader” in the 2017 Impact Report.