Brighter Futures Begin with HOPE.

HOPE Submits Public Comment on Defining Financial Inclusion

February 21st, 2024

By Kiyadh Burt, Director of Policy

Financial inclusion is an important aspect of building wealth. Having access to financial services such as checking and savings accounts, consumer credit, mortgage financing, and small business capital is necessary to increase wealth, especially among communities that have been historically locked out of mainstream financial institutions. Without these resources, communities are left vulnerable to predatory, high-cost practices or are simply without the ability to cover their financial needs.[1]

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), like HOPE, with a strong track record of providing financial inclusion for historically marginalized communities demonstrate that increasing financial inclusion is possible and scalable with the appropriate resources. HOPE has published comments in response to the Department of Treasury’s request for information on the strategies to increase financial inclusion.

Key recommendations are:

  • Banks and credit unions must offer products that meet the unique needs of people living in rural persistent poverty communities – and the secondary market must support them
  • Invest in CDFIs and Minority Depositories with long track records of reaching people of color
  • Invest in critical community infrastructure and institutions
  • Expand Resources for HBCUs

These recommendations are proposed against the interconnected, systemic challenges to financial inclusion in the Deep South. The Deep South is home to the highest rates of unbanked and underbanked households in the nation, and consequently communities, especially rural households of color are less likely to have adequate access to wealth-building opportunities such as homeownership and small business capital. HOPE’s presence in the Deep South serves to increase financial inclusion and alleviate poverty despite these obstacles.

Read HOPE’s full comment is available here.



[1] Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). (2021). “FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households”.

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