NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, BlackRock announced that ADP, Best Buy, Self, Truist and Varo have joined their philanthropic Emergency Savings Initiative (ESI) which increases access to low-cost, low-friction savings products for financially vulnerable Americans. In line with the firm’s commitment to contribute to a more resilient economy, BlackRock’s ESI will work with these diverse partners to innovate and scale savings solutions that help foster resilience to financial shocks.
The reach of this new cohort will increase the supply of proven savings tools and strategies for low- to moderate-income U.S. workers and smooth distribution to millions of people, marking a milestone systems-change moment for the ESI. Each partner will reach savers with a bespoke solution via employer and provider channels.
- ADP – In a continued effort to provide cost-effective, efficient solutions for diverse payment needs, ADP is leveraging employee-centric research through its work with Commonwealth to test emergency savings features through Wisely® by ADP.
- Best Buy – Best Buy is evaluating their current employee savings program through an employee survey and interviews to identify opportunities to enhance the program and increase participation.
- Self – In an effort to improve savings for customers, Self worked with the ESI to review and deploy a savings brand campaign and is integrating research into new product development.
- Truist – (NYSE: TFC) As the first top 10 bank (by assets) to join the initiative, Truist will help clients build emergency savings by innovating in the savings space and launching exciting new solutions that are a core part of its purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities.
- Varo – An innovative digital bank working with BlackRock’s ESI to help customers automatically save more out of every paycheck.
“It’s clear that widespread economic insecurity is not a result of individual choices but rather structural barriers that often make financial stability an unreachable goal,” said Deborah Winshel, Global Head of Social Impact at BlackRock and President of the BlackRock Foundation “We’re ensuring that savings solutions are tailored to the financial lives of low- to moderate-income households and our growing coalition of partners can help us put these solutions into the hands of even more people who have faced systemic barriers to financial security.”
Over the past year, emergency savings provided a lifeline to people who required a liquid buffer to offset income losses and increased health and childcare expenses due to the pandemic. And those without a savings cushion were forced to choose options that detracted from their future savings and overall financial well-being. According to a survey of retirement plan participants, people without liquid emergency savings were two times more likely to take an early withdrawal or 401(k) loan in order to make ends meet, compared to those with savings.
With heightened recognition that emergency savings are foundational to long-term financial health, there is a rapidly expanding ecosystem of organizations that are bridging this critical gap in traditional benefits that help people build financial security. In 2020, the ESI’s industry experts from Common Cents Lab, Commonwealth and the Financial Health Network worked with organizations, including Voya Financial, who recently became the first recordkeeper to join the ESI, UPS and MasterCard to deliver proven, research-backed savings tools to more people across the U.S.
Cross-industry collaboration of recordkeepers, payroll systems, employers, financial institutions, fintechs and policymakers will further the ESI’s goal of building a more inclusive safety net that makes it possible for people to improve their circumstances, manage unforeseen shocks and get ahead in life.
For more information on BlackRock’s Emergency Savings Initiative, please visit savingsproject.org.
About BlackRock’s Emergency Savings Initiative
BlackRock announced a $50 million philanthropic commitment to help millions of people living on low to moderate incomes gain access to and increase usage of proven savings strategies and tools – ultimately helping them establish an important safety net. The size and scale of the savings problem requires the knowledge and expertise of established industry experts that are recognized leaders in savings research and interventions on an individual and corporate level. Led by its Social Impact team, BlackRock is partnering with innovative industry experts Common Cents Lab, Commonwealth, and the Financial Health Network to give the initiative a comprehensive and multilayered approach to address the savings crisis.
Executive Quotes from the Emergency Savings Initiative’s Nonprofit Industry Experts:
“Common Cents Lab has an extensive history of fostering healthy financial behaviors and interventions through extensive research on human thought, behavior, and decision-making,” said Mariel Beasley, co-founder of Common Cents Lab. “This initiative offers a new opportunity to bring behavioral economics to an engaged and diverse audience in order to make a large-scale impact on the savings epidemic.”
“The role of savings in financial security is clear, and we are all more aware of the emergency savings crisis after a year of unprecedented financial pain,” said Timothy Flacke, co-founder and executive director of Commonwealth. “The Emergency Savings Initiative is demonstrating that enabling savings for stakeholders is both achievable and provides business value. We are proud to bring decades of design, implementation and impact assessment experience to our corporate partners seeking to advance their stakeholders’ financial security.”
"The pandemic challenged the financial health of millions of Americans more than ever before — and emergency savings was a critical lifeline for many," said Jennifer Tescher, President and CEO of the Financial Health Network. "Employers and organizations have a critical role in helping their employees and customers get started, or contribute to, emergency savings to help people prepare for the unexpected.