Skip to Navigation | Skip to Content

Accessible Financial Services Incubator

One in five households in America--more than 24 million families--is underbanked and lacks access to affordable financial services. 

With generous grant support from the Ford Foundation, Filene created the Accessible Financial Services (AFS) Incubator to address this challenge and prove that mainstream financial institutions can help the underserved gain access to affordable credit and other essential financial products without compromising their own profitability.

Over two years, Filene collaborated with 42 credit unions to test five products in the AFS Incubator. Ultimately, this portfolio housed nearly 12,000 accounts with over $100 million in loan volume and nearly $1 million in savings.

Explore our new research, browse the Incubator programs below, or let us know you're interested in implementing one of the two selected programs.

Borrow & Save

Established by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, Borrow & Save increases consumers’ economic security by providing an affordable small dollar loan with a payment term that makes sense for them. A built-in savings component also enables consumers to self-fund emergency expenses instead of borrowing money to handle...

Non-Prime Auto Loans

Having reliable transportation allows for increased access to employment, housing, and education. However, many credit challenged consumers lack reliable transportation. The National Credit Union Foundation's Non-Prime Auto Loan program helps lenders offer and manage fairly-priced non-prime auto loans to consumers. Contact Andrew Downin, managing director of innovation, to learn more...

Employer Sponsored Small Dollar Loans

Developed by NorthCountry Federal Credit Union, this small dollar loan program is offered to employees of the Select Employer Groups (SEGs) partnered with credit unions. Loan payments are auto-deducted from direct deposited paychecks. Once the loan is paid, employees may continue making payments into savings accounts. Contact Cynthia Campbell, director of...

Pay Yourself Back

Innovations in Poverty Action developed the Pay Yourself Back product as an add-on to any loan type. By leveraging the habits formed by regularly making loan payments, it encourages consumers to keep making regular payments (or a portion of it) to themselves after the loan is paid off. The idea...

The Trust Card Debt Reduction Program

We’re still looking for innovative credit unions to test the Trust Card in an 18-month pilot program. Contact Cynthia Campbell, director of innovation labs, to learn more, watch the Trust Card recorded webinar, and peruse the overview sheet and webinar slides on in the right-hand column. Did you know that due...