The Boston Alliance for Economic Inclusion (BAEI) is a public-private partnership whose mission is to enhance the economic well-being of the unbanked/underserved in metropolitan Boston by improving their access to the U.S. banking system, developing and marketing more responsive and affordable financial products and services, promoting financial education, and addressing technical or regulatory issues surrounding these developments.
This initiative (formally known as the Boston New Alliance Task Force) was launched in October 2005. The BAEI offers credit unions and other financial institutions opportunities to better understand and develop the means to serve the significant business potential of the growing unbanked/underserved market and remain in compliance with all current banking laws.
In order to achieve its Mission, the BAEI:
- Informs and educates financial institutions and others about the positive business opportunities provided by improved access to mainstream financial services for the unbanked/underserved, and identifies and solves issues and obstacles associated with new product or service development.
- Fosters a continuing commitment by leaders in the financial services industry, the non-profit and the public sectors, to take positive action in response to these opportunities, and recognizes task force members for their contributions.
In late 2005, a Products and Services (P&S) Workgroup was formed to research and compile information about affordable products and services and to promote their use by banks and credit unions. The P&S Workgroup explored ways that mainstream financial institutions throughout the country were serving this emerging market and learned that many appropriate products and services already existed. As a result, the P&S Workgroup set out to identify these products and services and present them in a reference guide. Additionally, the Workgroup planned and conducted a four-part educational series for bank and credit union personnel that focused on products and services but also addressed effective strategies for mainstream financial institutions to meet the challenges and opportunities of this changing marketplace.
We are calling this reference guide a “Toolbox” and hope that as you examine the needs and opportunities that exist in your service area, you will be able to match them with the right combination of “tools.” This resource is a compilation of information and effective practices that have helped financial institutions locally and in other areas develop comprehensive programs to respond to the emerging unbanked/underserved market. The BAEI believes that the scope of this Toolbox, from staffing considerations to product offerings, will ultimately lead to improved profitability for the institution and greater opportunities to build individual and family self-sufficiency among area residents.