U.S. Poverty, Microentrepreneurs and Microfinance: Needs, Responses and ProspectsU.S. Poverty, Microentrepreneurs and Microfinance: Needs, Responses and Prospectshttp://www.haverford.edu/calendar/details/213272Stokes Auditorium2013-03-28T14:30:002013-03-28T19:00:00
March 28, 2:30PM–7:00PM
A Symposium for Practitioners, Policymakers, Researchers and Students
Thursday, 28 March (registration 2:00pm) - Friday, 29 March (2:30pm close)
The US has been lauded for its highly advanced financial sector, yet has had limited success in providing access to appropriate financial products among the poor. While served by a diverse set of institutions (banks, credit card companies, credit unions, pay day lenders, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to name a few), the number of poor families who are adequately served is low. For example, nearly 20 percent of lower income households do not have a bank account. (FDIC , 2009). The central role played by sub-prime mortgages in the recent crisis is an example of how efforts seemingly targeted to low income families can go horribly awry.
Four years after the start of the financial crisis, the future of access to finance in the US is uncertain. While new initiatives in the for-profit microfinance sector and a proposed CDFI bond fund could have important impacts on the scale of efforts in this area, many current providers, dependent on grants and subsidies, have little growth potential.
This symposium seeks to bring together practitioners, policymakers and academics to look across the often "silo-ed" parts of the sector to assess both current and prospective access to finance among both households in poverty and microentrepreneurs. Questions to be addressed include:
- What are the financial needs of poor households and microentrepreneurs?
- How well do the products offered address the needs?
- How does the design of products affect both their take-up and impact, positively and/or negatively?
- Who are the providers?
- Are the business models of current providers sustainable?
- Are they structured for growth or replicable?
- What opportunities and obstacles do the different parts of the sector face going forward post financial-crisis?
Participants will have the opportunity to share research, practice and insight through presentations and panel discussions over two half days.
On-line Registration and additional Information: www.haverford.edu/Mi3
Sources: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (2009), "FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households," Washington, DC.
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