WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Millions of people lack access to traditional banking services, but numerous organizations are working hard to develop consumer- and community-oriented financial innovations to meet these needs. Promontory Financial Group is establishing the Empowerment Awards to recognize and support the most promising innovators.
Demand for the skills and work of community-oriented financial institutions is surging. More than one in four American households is either unbanked or under-banked, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Many families and communities continue to face deep economic distress, with more than 15% of Americans living below the poverty line—the highest rate in a generation.
“Safe and fair finance is a powerful tool to eliminate poverty and improve lives,” said Eugene A. Ludwig, CEO of Promontory. “Mainstream bankers, technology firms, and other innovators are pursuing solutions to fill the gap between the everyday needs of the underserved and the products available to them.”
Mr. Ludwig cited community development financial institutions as a natural laboratory for responsible innovation, noting that “many of our greatest community-oriented institutions began as disruptive innovators.” Mobile banking is just one type of innovation aimed at expanding access to financial services.
Information about the Empowerment Awards, including the application materials, is available online at empowerment.promontory.com. Prizes will include pro bono consultations with senior Promontory officials and financial awards to strengthen projects. Applications will be accepted until May 31, 2014, and winners will be announced in late 2014.
Promontory Financial Group, based in Washington, D.C., specializes in helping companies and governments around the world manage complex risks and meet their greatest regulatory challenges. Promontory’s work aims to make its client companies stronger and the financial system safer for consumers. Promontory has offices in New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, Denver, Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, and Toronto. Eugene A. Ludwig, who served as U.S. Comptroller of the Currency under President Clinton, founded Promontory in 2001.