2012 Assets Learning Conference

Immigrants' Access to Financial Products and Services

September 20, 2012  3:30 pm - 4:45 pm

Room: Virginia A

This session describes two approaches recently taken to study the path of immigrants towards financial inclusion: research by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) in California and by the NYC Mayor’s Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE). NCLR’s study focused on the breadth of financial services used by immigrant and non-immigrant Latinos in California. NCLR will describe how the findings give insight into perceptions of financial services and products, and show where services are lacking to help Latinos meet daily and long-term financial needs. They will also describe the role of technology in the Latino community, which many believe to be the great equalizer in “banking the unbanked” and how NCLR will use the findings to help produce an immigrant financial inclusion policy agenda. OFE’s study examined how short-term savings, both formal and informal, are important financial capability strategies, which are often accumulated to protect immigrants and their families from short-term financial shocks such as losing a job or family health emergencies. OFE will show how this is a particular challenge for immigrants, who may be discouraged from investing United States-based financial products because of their expectations of returning to their home countries in the future. Presenters will also outline the product, program and policy opportunities to better serve this dynamic market segment and encourage their uptake of domestic financial products and services.


  • Nathalie Gons, NYC Office of Financial Empowerment
  • Marisabel Torres, National Council of La Raza
  • Barbara Robles, Federal Reserve Board of Governors (Moderator)