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Financial Solutions Lab Announces $3 Million Competition to Tackle Consumer Financial Security

Center for Financial Services Innovation and JPMorgan Chase call on innovators to submit high-tech solutions to address consumers’ cash flow challenges


The Financial Solutions Lab at the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) with founding partner JPMorgan Chase & Co. today announced a $3 million competition for technology innovators working to address consumer financial challenges. This cross-sector initiative will identify technology-enabled financial solutions and provide winners with direct and indirect support to test and expand the availability of their products and services to consumers.
The challenge, opening today, will be the first in a series and invites innovators to submit financial product and service solutions that help households better manage their finances on a tight budget. Vulnerable consumers can get caught in a cycle of debt when relying on alternative services, like payday lenders or check cashing institutions, while trying to make ends meet in the days between when income comes in and bills are due. CFSI has identified the timing mismatch between household income and expenses as one of the greatest financial challenges facing low- to moderate-income families.

In fact, CFSI’s 2013 Financially Underserved Market Size Report found that Americans spent $36.5 billion in one year on credit and transaction products to address this challenge. Additionally, over one hundred million Americans struggle with balancing their household finances[i] and forty-three percent of Americans struggle to pay their bills. [ii]

“Millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet often juggling uneven income and unpredictable expenses,” said Jennifer Tescher, CEO of CFSI. “Through the Financial Solutions Lab we want to identify and support innovators who are working to meet consumer needs with meaningful, scalable solutions. The Lab will help build the next generation of financial products and services to improve consumer financial health.”

From February 24 until April 7, 2015, the Financial Solutions Lab will accept applications from innovative entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations competing to receive up to $250,000 in capital, along with national partnership opportunities, industry expertise, mentorship, and cutting-edge consumer and design insights necessary to power the next generation of leading financial services innovations. Solutions from approximately eight winning organizations will embrace consumer-friendly design, promote consumer success, build trust, and create opportunity in order to generate mutual benefit for providers and consumers.
Winners will be selected by an expert, cross-sector group including leaders from JPMorgan Chase, CFSI, and strategic partners in human-centered design, behavioral economics, community outreach and for-profit entrepreneurship. Winners will be announced at CFSI’s Emerge Conference on June 11th.

“The personal financial security of individuals impacts the financial health of their household, their community and the overall economy,” said Janis Bowdler, Head of Financial Capability at JPMorgan Chase & Co. “That is why JPMorgan Chase is committed to supporting innovators who share our goal of helping low- to moderate-income consumers better manage their daily financial lives, improve resiliency and promote economic security.” JPMorgan Chase’s support of the Financial Solutions Lab is a part of its broader commitment to helping people better understand and manage their finances to secure their futures.

Financial Solutions Lab Led by Experts in Finance, Technology, and Human-Centered Design

CFSI and JPMorgan Chase also today announced the Lab’s Advisory Council, a group of industry leaders from the financial services, technology, academia, and investment community who will provide overall strategic guidance and resources to Lab competition winners. In addition to the strategic direction they provide on the Lab, the Advisory Council will play an integral part in guiding the success of the winning innovations to ensure they meet the needs of consumers and can be made widely available. They include:

  • Paul Breloff, Managing Director, Accion Venture Lab
  • Kosta Peric, Deputy Director, Financial Services for the Poor, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Jennifer Tescher, President and CEO, CFSI
  • Susan Ehrlich, Board of Directors, CFSI
  • Arjan Schütte, Founder and Managing Partner, Core Innovation Capital
  • Jonathan Mintz, Founding President and CEO, Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund
  • Andrea Levere, President, Corporation for Enterprise Development
  • Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation
  • Eldar Shafir, Scientific Director and Co-Founder, Ideas42
  • Tim Brown, CEO, IDEO
  • Barry Saik, SVP and GM, Consumer Ecosystem Group, Intuit
  • Dalila Wilson-Scott, President, JPMorgan Chase Foundation
  • Ben Knelman, CEO and Co-Founder, Juntos Finanzas
  • Ben Jealous, Partner, Kapor Capital
  • Ann Lamont, Managing Partner, Oak Investment Partners
  • Chris Bishko, Partner, Omidyar Network
  • Caribou Honig, Partner, QED Investors
  • Cheryl Porro, SVP of Tech and Product, Salesforce Foundation
  • Michael Barr, Professor of Law, University of Michigan
  • Suzi Sosa, Founder and CEO, Verb

“We know that the challenges posed by financial insecurity can have a profound impact on individuals and families. I’m heartened by the Financial Solutions Lab’s efforts to improve the financial health of low-income people and impressed that they have begun with a focus on household liquidity,” said Eldar Shafir, the William Stewart Tod Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton University and Scientific Director and Co-Founder of ideas42, a non-profit organization leading the applications of behavioral science to do social good and have impact at scale.

“The Financial Solutions Lab is a great example of the practical application of human-centered design to address the challenges everyday Americans face and to create real impact, ”said Tim Brown, CEO, IDEO. “I’m honored to be a part of this cross-sector group of experts and I’m looking forward to working closely with the innovators who participate in the Lab.”

About the Financial Solutions Lab

The Financial Solutions Lab is a $30 million, five-year initiative managed by the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) with founding partner JPMorgan Chase & Co. to identify, test and expand the availability of promising innovations that help Americans increase savings, improve credit, and build assets. The Lab will launch a series of competitions to identify solutions to specific consumer financial challenges. It will provide incentives for entrepreneurs, businesses, and nonprofits to enhance financial products and services that address these challenges and improve consumers’ financial health. For more information, visit

About Center for Financial Services Innovation
CFSI is the nation’s authority on consumer financial health. CFSI leads a network of financial services innovators committed to building a more robust financial services marketplace with higher quality products and services. Through its Compass Principles and a lineup of proprietary research, insights and events, CFSI informs, advises, and connects members of its network to seed the innovation that will transform the financial services landscape. For more on CFSI, go to and follow on Twitter at @CFSInnovation.

About JPMorgan Chase & Co.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.6 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers in the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at



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