This is Pacific Exchanges, a podcast from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. I’m Paul Tierno.
And I’m Sean Creehan. We’re part of the FinTech and Country Analysis team here at the San Francisco fed, where we work to promote responsible and inclusive innovation in the financial system. Today, we’re excited to welcome you to a new podcast series, Financial Inclusion and Beyond, an exploration of what we can learn from efforts around the world to improve financial inclusion and wellbeing. For long time listeners to our podcast, this topic may be familiar and we’re excited to ground lessons from around the world in the context of our modern challenges amid the COVID 19 crisis and renewed efforts to promote racial equity in the financial system. For new listeners, we’re excited for you to join us.
In today’s episode, we sat down with the San Francisco Fed’s very own President Mary Daly. Mary has been the president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco since October 2018. In this time, she’s become a leading national voice on the importance of removing structural barriers to promote inclusive growth and foster economic resiliency. She has also championed the need for more proactive efforts to promote racial equity in our economy and financial system, encouraging an acknowledgement of existing inequality and the need to do better moving forward.
So inclusion is the foundation of a healthy and strong economy, which is one of the key missions of the Fed. And that’s inclusion across a host of things. That’s inclusion in economic opportunity, it’s inclusion in financial opportunity, it’s inclusion in a sense of belonging to a community. I think of it as we all do better when we all do better, and leaving anyone on the sidelines limits us all.
Mary makes the case for why the Fed should and does care about financial inclusion and more expansive notions of financial health and wellbeing. And she reminds us that good policy must be about more than taking down barriers. It also has to focus on building bridges. Ensuring individuals’ access to bank accounts, for example is necessary, but not sufficient for real inclusion. The financial system should also enable economic opportunity for every citizen by ensuring that they feel welcome, have access to products designed for them and have some foundational understanding of how the products work.
We really couldn’t have had asked for a better guest to kick off this series. And it was exciting to sit down with someone who has spent so much of her time promoting inclusive growth. There’s still a lot of work to be done to promote financial health and inclusion, but Mary reminds us why it’s worth the effort. Okay, let’s get to our conversation with Mary Daly.
Well, thank you so much for joining us today, Mary.
It’s my pleasure. Looking forward to the conversation.
So since you took over as president of the San Francisco Fed, you’ve delivered a number of speeches on the connection between economic growth and the removal of structural barriers for many citizens’ inclusion in the economy. Can you talk a bit about the benefits of inclusion from an economic and social perspective? Do you see a connection between inclusion and economic resiliency? In other words, really, why does the Fed care about inclusion?
Well, you think about the economy, it needs each and every one of us. If any group is excluded, we’re leaving talent on the table. We’re leaving important people and communities behind. So inclusion is the foundation of a healthy and strong economy, which is one of the key missions of the Fed. And that’s inclusion across a host of things. That’s inclusion in economic opportunity, it’s inclusion in financial opportunity, it’s inclusion in a sense of belonging to a community. I think of it as we all do better when we all do better, and leaving anyone on the sidelines, limits us all.
I really like that as a way of summing up the value behind the inclusion. We all do better when we all do better. It seems like a really good rule of thumb and it feels particularly relevant now during this pandemic, when the need to be connected is that much more important. Can you talk about what the pandemic has taught you about the need for inclusion? Has it changed your thinking on the topic at all? Are the benefits of inclusion that much greater and other drawbacks to not being included that much more of a hindrance because of the pandemic?
I’m really glad you asked that question because the value proposition of inclusion, financial, economic health, et cetera, it hasn’t changed at all. But what COVID-19 has done is it’s really highlighted, spotlighted, magnified the difficulties with not being inclusive and how those things really inhibit us when we think about economic resiliency, and hinder our growth in the long run even when we’re not fighting a crisis.
Let me be really specific here. We get COVID-19 it hits our shores. The Federal Reserve takes bold action along with Congress, immediately at the start of the pandemic. We do this and we quickly get out support to many, many households, millions of Americans get the support they need in terms of payments, unemployment insurance and these are all important. Paycheck Protection Program loans to small businesses. Those were, I think by anyone’s measure, a huge success and yet very, very many small businesses didn’t have access to those. Why not? Because they weren’t part of the traditional banking system that was intermediating those loans with help from the Federal Reserve, with Congress, the Treasury through the economy.
We saw this big structural barrier, essentially, which people in these communities have been telling us or structural barriers for a while, but to see it all at the same time right before us, and see how it hindered our ability to get support out to those most in need, which ultimately hinders those individuals who own those businesses, the families that depend on them and the communities that they serve. This has really been a spotlight. And one of the things that should come out of COVID in my judgment, is that we’re all doubling down on something we believed in before, and that is financial and economic inclusion.
So let’s talk a little bit more about financial inclusion. As a policymaker, as a central banker, what does financial inclusion specifically mean to you?
For me, it means that everyone has access to the things that make their lives easier and their ability to be mobile, accumulate assets, pass their hard work onto their children in the form of inheritance or wealth. These are all things that we, many of us, take for granted, but let me talk about them specifically.
Access to credit, that allows you to purchase a car, a durable good, or invest in a home so that you can accumulate worth in that home asset value, but also live in it. So those credit access, that’s very important, critical if you will, to these small businesses, homeowners, even people who are purchasing cars. All of us who purchase a car. But it means more than that. It means the ability to have savings vehicles. Where can I put my money if I want to save for my kids’ college education? How do I save? How do I have access to that savings in a way that allows me to fight off emergencies, but also save and earn a rate of return that grows over time? So those are all vehicles.
Another vehicle that I think we overlooked a lot is we need cash flow smoothing devices. Many of us take that for granted again, because we have enough savings, precautionary savings in our savings accounts. But for countless families in the United States, they don’t have that, that ready savings. And so financial smoothing vehicles that don’t involve going to the payday lender are important.
I remember, this isn’t just a hypothetical. When I was younger, 16, I was working, I dropped out of high school and I always had trouble because I was paid once a month. I always had trouble getting gas for my car at the very last week. And I was lucky enough to have my own smoothing device right there in my community. The person who owned the gas station saw that I struggled I’d put in like 50 cents and try to get to work and that’s how low gas prices were back then. But he said, “You know what? At the end of the month, I’ll just front you this gas, get up to two, $3 and then pay me when you get paid.”
And that’s a smoothing device that allows people to get cashflow and repurpose it throughout the month. These are essential to low and moderate income families and we saw that in COVID as well. So financial inclusion, get back to your question, means that those things, those vehicles, all the way from, how do you just get to pay your bills and manage your finances all the way up to how do you invest in a home and then pass the home onto your children, those are all parts of what I think of as financial inclusion.
So Mary, to that point, I think that really resonates with what we’re hoping to get out of this broader series, which we’re so glad you’re helping us introduce. But it’s the highlight really a more expansive notion of what we mean when we say inclusion and building towards broader concepts of what we might call financial health and wellbeing. It sounds to me what you’re talking about really is that. It’s not just enough to just give someone access to the basic banking product, but it’s really thinking about how it helps them achieve their economic and broader life goals. So how we think about that. I think some people may not always even appreciate when they hear this concept of basic access or inclusion. That it’s really a lot bigger than just showing up and saying, okay, here’s your bank account, here’s your payment card. Good luck.
No, that’s completely right. You’ve hit it right on. If you think about inclusion, inclusion means, in a broad way, for a moment let’s back up from financial, let’s just talking about what inclusion means. Inclusion means people get invited to in this case, half products or if you were thinking about coming to your home, they get invited. And then inclusion means that you’re talking to them or you’re teaching them how to use those vehicles, or you’re integrating those vehicles in their aspirations as individuals and as community members.
So when I think of financial inclusion, I don’t think of just getting more people banked, moving them from unbanked to bank. I think of this as a wraparound service, how do we create healthy communities by creating healthy economies and healthy budgets among families? That creates this virtuous cycle, which ultimately lifts everyone. So it really is a complete package.
And again, I want to highlight that for so many of us, we take this for granted that we would have access to all of these things and we would use them to make decisions in our life and figure out how we want to save and invest over our life cycle. But for people who are outside of the financial system, this isn’t something that takes place every day. We have to think more broadly and more completely than just getting unbanked people to be in the banking system. This is really a wraparound program. That’s what full financial inclusion means. And it’s good for everyone.
So Mary, while talking about financial inclusion, I actually wanted to flip it for a minute and talk about this sort of the opposite and financial exclusion. So we alluded to your work in some of your speeches on structural buyers in the first question. I wanted to go back to that topic just for a second. Should we think of financial exclusion as a structural barrier to inclusive growth?
Yes, absolutely. Financial exclusion, and I would say just financial negligence. So let me switch it a little bit. So there’s one way to think about it is, how many people are we excluding? And those are about taking down barriers, structural barriers, and allowing more people into the system, preventing discriminatory practices or other things, red lining, think of all of those things, which were literal barriers to people being involved. I want to also expand our thinking now to go beyond just removing barriers and talking about exclusion, to talking about how do we get people in?
So we want to take down the barriers, make sure there’s nothing preventing them, but then we want to understand the value proposition of them being included and reach out for them and help them have financial assets, financial goals, financial health. I think about José Quiñonez in our neighborhood right around the corner from me. He’s on our Community Advisory Council and he runs Mission Asset Fund. And what I learned from José really has stuck me. He says, you have to meet people where they are.
So you can take down barriers, you can put a sign up in your bank and you can say, “All are welcome,” but for those who don’t feel comfortable, they may not trust financial institutions or they might not have sufficient resources to even think they can go to a bank, we need to meet them where they are. And that’s what he’s dedicated to in the mission asset fund. But this is what I think of when I think about taking down barriers.
They’re not just the structural barriers that are tangible, they’re the structural barriers about trust, belonging, familiarity, all of the things, again, that many of us take for granted and many of us had never had.
We’ll get to hear from José Quiñonez later on in the series, when we talk to some practitioners who are out there using technologies and traditional lending practices to really make a difference. Just want to say Mary, that I feel like what you’re talking about in terms of not just taking down barriers really connects to something that we’ve been thinking about. When you look at our 20th century regulatory architecture around inclusion and reducing discrimination, if you think about that, the history of red lining. So African-Americans, couldn’t borrow to buy a house in certain geographic areas where there was literally a line drawn by the bank that said, you can’t live here. You can’t borrow to live here. Clearly there was a lot of work done starting in the sixties, seventies and onward to do that. But clearly that wasn’t enough. Was it Mary?
No, clearly it wasn’t enough. I think there’s much work we can do. I’m going to be really bold about this. I think there’s still a lot of work to do on removing the barriers that we meant to remove when we said we’re taking down red lining. If you look at the historic imprint that that’s had on communities, it’s still there. There’s still inequities that persist. So once you have policies and programs in place, they have very long tails and it’s not just enough to take the barriers away, you have to go in and fill in where those gaps were created in the first place. So that’s a natural place for us to start.
If you think about, what if you had experienced this red lining in your community? You may not completely trust institutions like banking and financial services. So again, the onus is on banking and financial services to reach out and recognize how important it is to have these individuals in our economy, in our community and be financially healthy, reach out and do that work. That’s what I think of as the nuts and bolts, the daily work of financial inclusion. Recognizing the value proposition, having everyone involved and then finding ways to build trust, build knowledge, build resiliency in those communities so everybody can participate.
So I really like this conversation because it’s very practical and I want to continue to talk about the practical for a minute and talk about results and what will it look like if we succeed or how will we know if we succeed? So in a perfect world, what is an inclusive financial system? So one that promotes opportunity for everyone. What does that look like?
Well, let me give you an example that’s very practical from today. So COVID hits our shores, as I said, we put out these programs as paycheck protection program in particular, then we at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and all federal reserve banks across the system start calling up our community leaders, our advocates, our authorities, and we say, “How’s it going?” They say, “Really well, except,” and again and again, we hear that small businesses who don’t have a relationship, a preexisting relationship with a bank, are having a very difficult time funding themselves over the impact of the Coronavirus.
In a financially inclusive world, they would have had the same access. So their decision wouldn’t have been, can I get the loan or not? Their decision would be, do I want the loan or not? We’ve taken the, do I want this or not out of the equation for too many people and we’ve put instead, am I able to get it? Do I have access to it? So a financial inclusion system makes us make economic decisions that are the right things, as opposed to being prevented from doing what we want to do and what we could do simply because we don’t have the opportunity set to do that.
I think that is really the value proposition. I just think of how many more businesses would have likely survived if they had more direct access to those programs. That’s something that would have had an impact or would continue to have an impact on our communities. So the same thing holds for individuals. If individuals in low and moderate income communities have better access to credit that allows them to buy a house, then they are members of the community in a different way than if they’re thinking about whether or not they can keep in their place because the landlord might sell it and they’re displaced.
So these are all aspects of financial health for individuals that spill into the financial health of communities and ultimately the financial health of our economy.
Picking up on that, Mary and connecting it to your story when you were younger about being fronted gas money. I mean, if you imagine also these folks that by the letter of the law and the Cares Act, which in a lot of ways is a really successful public policy program and we’ll see the results of research on that for years to come. But people that were owed money, who for whatever reason, maybe they didn’t have a bank account, or there was some problem with their digital identity, they just couldn’t get the money quick enough. Just thinking about these great policy intentions, and the US government of course has the money to send, but how do they get it there in time and connecting to that liquidity challenge?
So clearly, there’s a lot of work that can be done and it feeds into the crisis response and all of these other good policy intentions that we may have here at the central bank.
I also just wonder just about as we think about the future of work, I know that’s a big topic for you and you’re spending a lot of time on it and the way that we’re paid, thinking again, back to you getting fronted gas money. If you imagine someone that’s working at a Walmart or an Amazon warehouse who gets paid every two weeks, if we imagine a future where payments are pretty frictionless, low cost, free essentially you can get paid every day, what does that mean for people? I mean, it seems like it would be hugely impactful.
I reflect a lot because especially pre pandemic, I took Uber or Lyft or other ride sharing companies quite a bit. We all did. I like to ask questions, so I’d get in and I’d say, “Why do you drive?” It was very, very common for people to tell me they were driving to meet a payment that was due outside of the cycle of their regular paycheck. So now think about what they would be able to do if they had instantaneous payments. They might still want to have extra income, but the instantaneous payments from their main job, they would have income smoothing, just like the gentleman who fronted me gas money. It would be an income smoothing vehicle that would allow many people to meet the deadlines for paying tuition or buying books for their kids or going to the doctor or making sure they can have gas money to go to the job in the first place. All of these things are critically important.
When you’re in a low or moderate income group, the lumpiness of your payments and the discontinuity between the lumpiness of your payments and the lumpiness of your paycheck actually causes a lot of financial stress. One of the things instantaneous payments or more regular payments does is it smooths that over. It takes that friction away. I just think of the countless families out there who would not have to have so much stress because they know that tomorrow I’m going to get this money and I can meet this bill and the next day I’ll get this money to meet this bill. Then they won’t have to use other forms of predatory lenders, et cetera, that we all worry about. Because that’s zapping or sapping more of their resources and they don’t have any resources they can really bear to lose.
So I hope you’ll both allow me to be a little bit of a cheerleader here. As an employee of the San Francisco Fed, and Sean is as well of course, I think we’re both inspired and challenged by Mary, your call for us to be the best in public service. Perhaps it’s not surprising that we believe in the role of public policy and how it can help solve some of these problems.
So I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about the role that you see public policy play in financial inclusion. Are there areas where you have to focus on, in your day-to-day job as the President of the San Francisco Fed, to promote these issues of financial inclusion? And I guess on the converse, are there broader structural barriers that are just the impact inclusion that just go beyond the Fed’s purview?
That’s a terrific question and I think a lot about this. I’d say one of the most important barriers, if you will, is our own mindset. We think of the reason at many, many people in our society, I’m saying society as a whole, we think of the reason people don’t have bank accounts as they don’t have any money. So, of course they don’t have bank accounts because they don’t have any money, but that’s actually not true. They have money, it’s just in more modest amounts and it’s in lumpier payments. Sometimes it’s not a good value proposition for them to use a traditional banking system. And there’s a lot of concern, if it’s not distrust, it’s lack of trust.
So I spend a lot of my time creating the narrative, being an ambassador for the value proposition of having everyone included in the financial system. Just because you have a little bit of money, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be involved in the financial system. Again, I’m going to reflect this back to my life back when I was a kid. So I’m 16, I’m getting payments from my job and I open a bank account. The person I opened the bank account with was really generous to me. You’re supposed to have a parent’s signature, but I really couldn’t acquire one of those.
So I get the bank account and she then sits down and teaches me how to write the check, how to bring the checks in and deposit them and she helps me. Now, this helps me in a variety of ways. One, it teaches me about financial health. There I can see what’s in my bank account. I understand how much money I have. She also took an interest in me, so she taught me how to interact with the financial system in a way that built trust. And then finally, she gave me a sense that I could save in that bank account, in addition to just using it as a take money out, put money in.
All of that made an impact on me at a very early age and made me partake in the banking system. I partake in the financial system from that time on. That is something that we could all do in public policy, is realize everyone deserves an opportunity to be part of something. That’s why I like José’s work in particular because he is meeting people where they are, but still providing not only financial services, but financial education, which ultimately leads to better financial health. This is a really important issue, I would say, that when I rank order issues in the economy right now, I think of financial inclusion as one of the top ones.
The reason is COVID exposed so many weaknesses in our financial inclusion that limit our ability to grow when the economy is strong and limit our ability to be resilient when the economy is weak. Getting those monies to people in need at times when they need them, it’s critical.
We’re clearly all very aligned on the importance of this topic and building bridges, as you said, and not just taking down barriers. I do wonder though, as central bankers charged with preventing things like excessive inflation, managing financial stability, clearly we do think a lot about mitigating harm and think in terms of risk management. And so I wonder, when you imagine new tools for promoting new access and inclusion, sometimes it could lead to downsides, maybe risky borrowing. How do you think about the trade-offs and remembering and honoring that existing role that we have? One that maybe we’ve over-rotated too over time while also including this new, more positive mandate to build bridges. How do you think about that? To us it’s a big challenge, how do you get it right?
I think it is a big challenge. One of the big challenges is that humans have a tendency to be like pendulums. We swing from one side of an issue to the other side of the issue pretty easily. So we over-correct oftentimes. We saw this in the lead up to the financial crisis is that, there was this incredibly big push, important push, to be more inclusive. But when you let that go unbridled and you don’t couple that with financial education and financial health, people end up in positions which are unsustainable. And then they lose value on their assets and they lose their credit rating as well. So that’s not an outcome that you’d like to see.
Then we get through that and we over-rotate in many ways to, well now it’s just a certain group of people they really can’t. They don’t have the money to participate in borrowing. This is a tough challenge. But being tough challenged doesn’t mean it’s an impossible challenge. I think the main thing I’d like the audience to hear is there’s not a single answer. It’s not an answer of, well, if we just do it this way and here’s our rules and here’s how we do it, everything will be perfect. That is actually the wrong way to think of it.
The right way to think of it in my judgment, is that we need to constantly be monitoring this. For any individual who walks in, it’s about is this the right time in your life to take on these financial assets, borrow to get them? Is this the right time in the economy to open a business? Do you know what’s at risk? Let’s make sure that you don’t put all of your assets at risk to open another part of the business. These are all things that are a part of financial discussions. Some would say financial counseling, I would say financial education, and it’s not limited.
This financial literacy issue isn’t limited to simply low and moderate income communities. It’s just that the penalty for being less than perfectly financially literate is higher if you’re in those communities. So I think just increasing our education on these issues and recognizing that this is a balancing act. But ultimately you have to allow people into the financial system to get credit and build savings in order for them to build assets over their life cycle and that’s the virtuous cycle that we want.
So doing it in a sustainable way, as opposed to getting there overnight and then having it be more precarious and purged. That’s the real answer. Sustainable, healthy financial systems that promote sustainable, healthy financial goals.
So Mary, it was in one of your comments earlier about how pandemic relief couldn’t get to individuals because they didn’t have relationships with banks, I think really highlights something. A thread, in a lot of what you say. I think it’s sort of the way you engage with our community. In addition to your role as the President of the San Francisco Fed, we might also call you our chief podcaster. You host alone, our podcast, Zip Code Economies, which we encourage any of our listeners who don’t know of it already to check out.
But in that listening tour where you really did reach out to communities to hear about some of their struggles and the issues that face them, I was wondering if you can talk a little bit about anything that you learned about inclusion from your engagement with those communities. Are there insights that you took away from the perspective of financial health and inclusion?
Absolutely. I’m glad you asked me that question. The reason I did Zip Code Economies and continue to do Zip Code Economies is, it’s important to ask people what they need, where their challenges are and what things they could use that would help them achieve the goals that they have for their communities. When I ask those questions time and time again, I hear that access to capital is a big hindrance, a big barrier to the growth and the sustainable growth of communities all over our district. Especially low and moderate income communities that just don’t have tax revenues or grants from the state or access to capital markets that would allow them to make a go of it.
So, one gentleman told me a story of, they’re in East Palo Alto and they have Facebook, Google, Ikea’s just opened up. So these communities are being taken over by these giants. And so they want to know how can they compete? It took them a long time to be able to go and find someone who would loan the money to get a simple thing. A hot dog cart. Because he wanted to get a hot dog cart and put it out in front of these stores and sell hot dogs or at the lunch thing. But even the money to do those types of things was limited to him.
So usually you find these communities, they’d borrow from relatives, they take equity out of their home, they use credit cards. That’s actually putting all of them at risk and a strain on them, that’s not good for the community. So I heard time and time again, access to capital markets. The idea that the financial market would take a chance on them, just like we take a chance on venture capitalists when we put money on ideas that some make it and some don’t. So I think having that mentality, that these are capable, willing, interested, innovative individuals, and taking chances on them and letting them grow those chances into businesses that matter, that’s something that I think we could really, really push on.
It’s what’s informed me to think more about community development financial institutions, minority depository financial institutions, other kinds of entities that work directly with these communities, know them well, and can help us take smart risks back to that, Sean, your question about balancing this, it’s really about taking smart risks. Ones that are good for the community and good for the individual.
You’ve given us a lot to think about. And I think you really helped set up the rest of the series, where we’ll hear from a number of subject matter experts in the field of technology, economics, public policy. You told a number of personal stories, and as we wrap up, do you have any personal advice for someone listening that wants to improve their financial health and just doesn’t know where to start?
Well, none of us really know where to start. I think that’s the first thing to think. If you don’t know where to start, you’re not alone. The most important thing to do is to start. I remember, after I had the fronting of the gas money and I get out and I have my bank account, I have no idea where to begin. And I got a piece of good advice and I put it to use and it actually paid off. So I’m going to share it with you, anyone listening. It works, whether you have almost no experience with financial issues or you have a lot of experience.
It’s basically just take the temperature of your finances. Look at how much you spend each month, look at how much you get each month and write down a few goals. I tend to write down yearly goals. What do I want to do this year? How much do I want to save for retirement? What kinds of donations do I want to make? Do I want to go on a vacation? And I pencil it all out. I’m a planner, but there’s something really good about planning. Because we make all kinds of decisions every day about how we spend our money. If we don’t know where we’re spending it, and we’re not really saving for anything, we can end up being regretful when we look back and say, wow, did I spend it all on that?
For me, when I did that checkup, that financial health checkup, when I was 16, it helped me realize that I was spending money in all kinds of ways that didn’t actually contribute that much to my life and my happiness. So I just stopped doing that. I started spending money on things that really mattered to me. So my big tip is, get started. Don’t be afraid, chip away at it little by little. Don’t have to do everything in one day. And the first part is just check in with yourself. Are you spending your money on the things you want to be spending it on? And are you planning in a way that helps you save for the things that really matter to you?
Mary, this is interesting. I mean, isn’t this also something that can be applicable to policymakers as well? We need to start somewhere, right? I mean, I think of your speech on the New Stone Soup and even on sort of the new monetary policy framework and just being comfortable with testing policies and being comfortable with uncertainty. You have to start somewhere and you have to trust that you’ve done the work and the outcome will bear fruit.
You know, I laughed a little bit when you said that, because it’s so true. We have to start somewhere, but as humans, we don’t want to start. We see a big mountain, this problem. And we’re like, Oh, that’s too hard. That’s too hard. I’m just going to bury my head and maybe it’ll go away. But it doesn’t go away. And we do have to start somewhere. I think all the time that this is true.
The economy is just a collection of people. Our institutions are just a reflection of ourselves. So starting just means starting one person at a time. Starting with yourself, starting with some member of your community. Each of us as public policymakers, just recognizing we’re not making public policy for people we don’t know, we’re making public policy for ourselves and our neighbors and everyone we interact with. So when I think of it that way, it’s easy to just get started because we’re changing the world one person at a time.
I’m really glad, Paul, you asked that and, Mary, your response makes a lot of sense. I think it’s a nice way for us to wrap up. If you’ll forgive one more shameless plug of episodes to come, but one of the really interesting conversations we have over the course of the series is with a woman named Ting Jiang, who’s a behavioral economist associated with Duke University. She works with product designers to think about how you can design better technological tools to drive financial health.
She puts it in terms of conquering our inner Homer Simpson. We have this intention to live healthy and to eat well, exercise, save, not overspend, but often we fall down. Maybe it’s because we’re stressed, particularly for a low-income population.
Maybe just that liquidity challenge is overwhelming and you just don’t know what to do. So thinking about the technology that can help and then the role of policy to make sure that that technology is being used for good and not something more nefarious, predatory lending, whatever it might be.
So there’s just so many cool conversations that we have to follow. And Mary, you’ve really tied this all up so nicely and hit on all the themes and connected it to the personal, because that’s really what this is all about. Sometimes the Fed can talk in these opaque, broad terms of financial stability and, and price stability and what does that mean for the individual? But really we hope, whether it’s someone who’s an expert in this field, or just trying to understand what the Fed means, when it says it’s interested in someone’s financial health and including them, there’s something for everyone to come and we couldn’t imagine a better opener.
So thank you again so much for joining us today.
My complete pleasure, a great conversation. I really enjoyed it and I’ll be tuning in. So I can’t wait to listen.
This has been great, Mary, thank you very much.
We hope you enjoyed today’s conversation with Mary Daly. The rest of the series, we’ll explore examples of how technology and public policy come together to promote financial health and inclusion around the world, including best practices and common pitfalls. As Mary reminded us, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done here at home and there’s much to learn from the rest of the world.
Mary, really grounds these broader policy challenges in the daily lives of everyone that uses the US financial system. And reminds us just as technologists in our backyard here in San Francisco think about human-centered design, we need to think about human-centered policy and regulation, with an eye to the underserved.
For more episodes like this, you can find us on iTunes, Google play, Stitcher and Spotify. And if you like what you hear, please leave a review. Feedback from listeners like you help more people find us. And for even more content, look up our Pacific exchange blog available frbsf.org. Thanks for joining us.