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A staggering 56 percent of all Americans lack an emergency fund. Even a minor financial setback can put the financial stability of more than half the families in this country at risk.

This is one of many findings in a report released by UNC and JPMorgan Chase & Co. that describes why helping economically fragile consumers better manage their finances is critical not only for individuals, but also employers, taxpayers and the economy.

Research also shows that even households with modest incomes can manage their finances more successfully when given the right information and financial products at the right time, delivered in the right form.

The report, All In: Building the Path to Global Prosperity through Financial Capability and Inclusion, was co-authored by Lucy S. Gorham, senior research associate for asset-building programs and policy for the UNC Center for Community Capital, and Janis L. Bowdler, senior program officer of financial capability and affordable housing for the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.

The report was released in connection with JPMorgan Chase’s announcement of a new $30 million, five-year initiative to improve financial capability. It explains how financial capability combines well-designed products and relevant information with insights from design, technology and behavioral economics to promote positive financial behavior.

Emerging technologies and behavioral insights create new opportunities to deliver the right products at the right time to consumers, researchers say.

JPMorgan Chase has teamed with the Center for Financial Services Innovation to launch The Financial Solutions LabSM designed to foster new ideas and innovations that will help consumers increase savings, improve credit and build assets.

Over the next five years, the lab will undertake a series of activities that support social entrepreneurs in developing and testing technology-enabled solutions that help underserved consumers overcome many of the challenges identified in this report and, ultimately, improve their financial health.

The lab will serve as a hub that deploys capital, expertise, technical assistance and design processes to bring innovations to scale and provide a source of R&D for the field. JPMorgan Chase employees will provide advisory services on the design, implementation and execution.

Download the report.

The UNC Center for Community Capital is the leading center for research and policy analysis on the transformative power of capital on households and communities in the United States. The center’s in-depth analyses help policymakers, advocates and the private sector find sustainable ways to expand economic opportunity to more people, more effectively. For more information, visit



Topics(s): Consumer Protections, Financial Inclusion, Savings & Asset-Building
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