The conference featured Rosario Marin, 41st Treasurer of the United States, as its keynote speaker. Ms. Marin served under President George W. Bush and was the first Mexican immigrant to achieve that position
“The work that Qualitas of Life does is truly remarkable. Financial education does make a difference” said Ms. Marin. “Joining Qualitas of Life to educate the community will be beneficial to all of us, because when we can help the most vulnerable, we help the entire community” she stated.
Along with Mrs. Marin, the conference featured guest speakers and panelists from non-profits, Fintech, and financial service providers. The discussion was moderated by Jason Marczak of Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin American Center and covered the importance of financial education to develop financial capabilities; financial inclusion of low-income, unbanked and underbanked populations; and the use of technology as a bridge for inclusion.
Jose Quinonez, Founder and CEO of Mission Asset Fund, highlighted “the importance of integrating the Hispanic community in the formal financial system in a way that is meaningful – building on traditional working practices, like the tandas – “we are lifting what is working in the community and then we talk about the future” he said. Mercedes Garcia, VP and Senior Business Leader for Community Relations at MasterCard, also emphasized that, in order to empower the Hispanic community, financial services and products should be tailored to their needs.
Carlos Armando Garcia, Founder and CEO of Finhabits, and Jake Peters, Co-Founder and CTO at PayPerks, both talked about the use of technology to help improve the decision making of the financially underserved, creating behavior change through creative technology tools.
“Financial education is important, yes, but we need action to create financial capabilities and achieve the financial inclusion of the underserved communities,” said Mae Watson Grote, CEO of the Financial Clinic. David S. Mitchell, Associate Director for Policy and Market Solutions in the Financial Security Program at the Aspen Institute, emphasized the vulnerability of the Latino community and the need to bring their assets into the formal financial system to protect them from losing everything they have worked for, in the case of deportation, for example.
At the end of the conference, the panel congratulated Qualitas of Life and its Founder and Chairperson, Marcela Orvañanos de Rovzar, for their work to address the huge need among Hispanic families for basic financial education.
A white paper is being produced reflecting the insights from the conference panel and recommendations on the financial inclusion of the Hispanic community.
If you want to watch the video of the conference, please click here.