Arjuna Costa on Designing Financial Products for the Unincluded
In episode three of Financial Inclusion & Beyond, we spoke with Arjuna Costa, managing partner of Flourish Ventures, a leading social impact fund focused on financial health. Arjuna invests in entrepreneurs around the world to catalyze innovations that help people achieve financial health.
We sat down to discuss the way entrepreneurs are harnessing the power of behavioral economics and customer-centric design to meet the everyday financial challenges of low income populations. Key takeaways from the discussion include:
- For too long, financial systems have thought in terms of standardized products that do not always meet the needs of customers or enable their life goals.
- Challenges common in emerging economies often force individuals to become micro-entrepreneurs out of necessity, spurring demand for new financial solutions. This has led to many innovations that are now coming back to developed countries like the United States.
- Partnerships between incumbent banks and fintech start-ups can help spread inclusive innovations throughout the financial system, emphasizing the need for banks and regulators to consider how to enable more collaboration.
- While financial product innovation can do a lot of good, inclusive economic growth and robust social safety nets are essential to provide the steady income streams that support financial health and resilience in good times and bad.
Please note that the initial interview was recorded prior to the onset of the COVID-19 crisis.