I was speaking to some people at Vancity about the issue of serving the underbanked and underserved, both of which are areas where we focus strongly. Two interesting things came back.
1> Someone in our Sustainability division (who shall remain nameless) came back with this nugget:
Money is like sex, you can have a lot of it or none of it and still have an unhealthy relationship to it.
2> Catherine Ludgate in our Community Business Banking division told me this story:
I was at a conference last week with a woman from Micro Business USA, and she was talking about the different mindsets of folks along the income spectrum. In her 30+ years of doing microlending and setting up savings programs, she said she has learned that poor and low income folk generally think of what they earn only in terms of their hourly pay (and certainly not about savings). An income cut above, the lower middle class earners think about their weekly earnings. Middle class earners think in terms of their monthly income, and upper middle class earners think in terms of annual income. The truly wealthy (however that is defined) think ahead in terms of three to five to ten year investments they will make.
Her argument was that changing how folks identified their value (hourly to weekly to monthly to annually to forward looking) is the first step in changing other behaviours, like the ability to save. And that change in thinking can lead to movement out of an income group, as the woman in the case study in the NY Times article moved.
I thought those were two good and valuable insights.