New Group Distributes $500K To Help Unbanked

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The newly formed Center for Financial Services Innovation announced last week it has awarded $500,000 to four community development entities for innovative ways to serve the underbanked. The winners are: CD Tech and Community Empower, Los Angeles, for a stored value card and web-based credit counseling service for low-wage workers; Community Act Project, Tulsa, Okla., for a web-based benefits eligibility screening tool that links government benefits to savings opportunities at area credit unions and banks; CircleLending, Cambridge, Mass., for a product that allows consumers and entrepreneurs to leverage informal loans into traditional forms of credit; and Immigrant and Refugee Services of America, Washington, D.C., for its plan to help refugees establish credit union and bank accounts with electronic deposit and travel loan repayment systems, as well as financial literacy. The Center for Financial Services Innovation was chartered in March and is a subsidiary of Shore Bank, the Chicago-based community development bank.

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