New America Foundation (CFED)
By: Pamela Chan
June 16, 2011
Our friends at CFED hosted an excellent webinar on Employer Engagement yesterday. The webinar discussed the potential of moving to a paperless payday. CFED Innovator-in-Residence, Eugénie FitzGerald, and Manager of the San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment, Leigh Phillips, built a case justifying the CurrenC SF program and talked about some of the challenges faced in the initial design phase of the program. CurrenC SF is a city-wide effort to work with employers to have all employees in San Francisco paid by direct deposit. Those who do not have a bank account to utilize direct deposit will be able to open an account through the existing Bank On SF program or will receive a payroll card. The two recently released a white paper on the topic. Cathy Beyda, an attorney at the PaulHastings law firm, followed to provide an insightful overview of the legal landscape governing payment of wages and payroll cards. The archived video for the webinar should be posted soon on the innovations@cfed website.
I'm particularly excited about the CurrenC SF program because it is paving the way to other employer-based asset building opportunities in the future. The webinar panelists mentioned it as a supporting point for CurrenC SF in the case study and elaborated on its potential in the Q&A portion of the webinar. One of the future asset building opportunities that can benefit from the CurrenC SF direct deposit infrastructure is the AutoSave program, an automatic savings program being piloted by New America and MDRC. The City of San Francisco is currently one of the employer sites testing AutoSave. It'll be exciting to see how the Bank On, CurrenC and AutoSave trifecta of financial access and asset building programs in San Francisco will evolve together in the very near future.