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Filene Research Institute announces center to focus on economic struggle

Filene Research Institute made an announcement recently of the launch of the Center of Excellence for Consumer Financial Lives in Transition. In addition, Dr. Lisa Servon was announced as its new research fellow.

The four-year research project focuses on strengthening credit unions’ capacity to adapt to consumers’ changing financial lives and livelihoods as they face new forms of economic struggle and financial fragility. The center will be led by Dr. Servon, the Kevin and Erica Penn Presidential Professor and Chair of City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design.

As Fellow, Dr. Servon will lead new research to:

  • Study how individuals and families earn, save, spend, borrow, invest and give across their lifecycles.
  • Prepare credit unions for an increasingly diverse consumer base characterized by heightened fragility.
  • Build a playbook for credit unions to better serve consumers’ changing needs and expectations.
  • Document trends in consumer financial services, including auto, mortgage, healthcare, and student lending, as well as savings and personal financial and wealth management.
  • Identify new member groups through granular segmentation, such as households and communities of color, veterans and military families, incarcerated and recently incarcerated populations, students and multigenerational families, etc.
  • Investigate the future of work and business services, from the independent workforce to new forms of small-business entrepreneurship.

Generous support for the Center of Consumer Financial Lives in Transition is provided by CUNA Mutual Group, BCU, Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) and PSCU.

The Center for Consumer Financial Lives in Transition follows the successful launch of the Center of Excellence for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in January. In 2020, Filene will be launching six new Centers of Excellence focusing on:

  • Diversity, equity and inclusion practices and policies in credit unions
  • Consumers’ changing financial lives and livelihoods, including new forms of work, entrepreneurship and personal finance
  • Best practices in measuring and accelerating innovation and incubation
  • Emerging financial technologies and their effects on business strategy and consumer experience
  • Impacts of financial services on community well-being and the strategic advantages of social responsibility
  • Advancement of credit unions’ capabilities in data governance, management and analytics
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The League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates represents nearly 300 credit unions throughout Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. It has a combined total of almost $200 billion in assets and 12.4 million members. LSCU provides advocacy, compliance services, education and training, cooperative initiatives, and communications.

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