About Us

About Us

Project

Partners

Team

Advisory Board

Funders

Project

The U.S. Financial Diaries (USFD) is a research study collecting detailed financial data from 235 low- and moderate-income households over the course of a year. USFD employs a research approach that combines the methods of quantitative and qualitative research. By observing household finances over long periods of time and at frequent intervals, we have collected detailed financial data from participating families, covering such territory as assets and debts, cash flows in and out of the households, financial instruments, employment, financial goals, and attitudes about money.

Deep and ongoing engagement between field researchers and participating households forms the foundation of the financial diaries methodology, and this engagement is fundamental to what makes USFD unique among economic and financial surveys. The resulting intimacy and trust aids fieldworkers in uncovering personal details that are key inputs to understanding the data. Engaging with households over time makes it possible to back-fill data and ask important follow-up questions. The geographic breadth of participants reveals a range of experiences.

The study offers a combination of data and household stories that explore the ways in which households’ financial positions shift over time, and how peoples’ financial choices influence – and are influenced by – other aspects of their lives.

The project was jointly created by Jonathan Morduch of the Financial Access Initiative at NYU Wagner, Rachel Schneider of The Center for Financial Services Innovation, and Daryl Collins of Bankable Frontier Associates. Morduch and Schneider are the principal investigators for the ongoing data analysis. USFD received leadership support from the Ford Foundation and Citi Foundation, with additional support and guidance from the Omidyar Network.

Read more about the USFD methodology and sample.

Partners



The Financial Access Initiative is a research center housed at NYU Wagner focused on exploring how financial services can better meet the needs and improve the lives of poor households. At FAI, we systematize evidence and communicate lessons, generate new evidence, and frame policy and regulatory issues. Visit the FAI website; follow us @financialaccess.


The Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) is the nation’s authority on consumer financial health. CFSI leads a network of financial services innovators committed to building a more robust financial services marketplace with higher quality products and services. Through its Compass Principles and a lineup of proprietary research, insights and events, CFSI informs, advises, and connects members of its network to seed the innovation that will transform the financial services landscape. For more, visit the CFSI website,and follow on Twitter at @CFSInnovation.

USFD Team


Principal Investigators

Jonathan Morduch
Professor of Public Policy and Economics NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

Jonathan Morduch is Professor of Public Policy and Economics at the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. His research centers on microfinance, social investment, and the economics of poverty.
Morduch is co-author of Portfolios of the Poor: How the World's Poor Live on $2 a Day (Princeton 2009) and The Economics of Microfinance (MIT Press, 2nd edition 2010), and he is co-editor of Banking the World: Empricial Foundations of Financial Inclusion (MIT Press 2012). He has taught on the Economics faculty at Harvard University, and has held visiting positions at Stanford, Princeton, the University of Tokyo, and Hitotsubashi University. Morduch has worked with the United Nations and World Bank, and advises global NGOs.

Morduch holds a BA from Brown and Ph.D. from Harvard, both in Economics. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Université Libre de Bruxelles in December 2008 in recognition of his work on microfinance.
Rachel Schneider
Senior Vice President, Insights and Analytics, Center for Financial Services Innovation

Rachel Schneider is the Senior Vice President, Insights and Analytics, for the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI). In this position, Schneider serves as an industry expert on the underbanked marketplace, identifying new innovations, analyzing trends and managing ongoing consumer research. She coordinates relationships with academic and industry research partners and collaborates with financial services companies and others regarding strategy development and product design related to the underbanked market.

Prior to joining CFSI, Schneider consulted with financial institutions, foundations and nonprofits on innovative strategies and financial products to reach underserved markets. She was also previously the Associate Director of the Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security where she was responsible for leading the design of proposed products that would facilitate savings and investment by lower income Americans. Schneider began her career as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch & Co., though her interest in the underbanked hails from her days as a VISTA Volunteer.

Schneider holds a J.D./M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. from UC Berkeley.
Project Leadership

Daryl Collins
Director, Bankable Frontiers

Daryl Collins is co-author of Portfolios of the Poor and Director at Bankable Frontier Associates, a niche consulting practice in Boston (see www.bankablefrontier.com). She is now leading the research efforts at BFA, building on an expertise in the demand-side dynamics of development finance. She is currently overseeing Financial Diaries studies in Kenya, India, Mexico, South Africa and advising the U.S. Financial Diaries.

Daryl began her career as an emerging market economist at a New York investment bank before moving to South Africa in the late 1990’s. She ultimately joined the finance faculty of the University of Cape Town, where she leveraged a successful career in portfolio management into research on the financial behavior of the poor. She has published extensively on financial market behavior in developing countries. Daryl holds a B.Sc. and an M.Sc. in economics from the London School of Economics and a Ph.D. from New York University.
Timothy Ogden
Managing Director, Financial Access Initiative (FAI), NYU

Timothy Ogden serves as Managing Director, coordinating FAI’s operations, research and communications. His previous work experience encompasses the private and nonprofit sectors. Prior to joining the Financial Access Initiative he was the Chief Knowledge Officer at Geneva Global, Inc., an international philanthropy advisory company, and founding editor of Gartner Press. He founded and currently leads Sona Partners, a thought leadership communications firm, where he has helped develop more than 20 books for major publishers. Ogden is co-author of Toyota Under Fire, and author of the forthcoming Experimental Conversations, a collection of interviews with economists conducting field experiments on poverty alleviation interventions. Ogden also serves as Editor-in-Chief of Philanthropy Action, as a contributing editor for Alliance Magazine, and writes regularly for the Stanford Social Innovation Review.
Nancy Castillo
Manager, U.S. Financial Diaries

Nancy Castillo leads the planning and implementation of the U.S. Financial Diaries project.
Prior to this position, Ms. Castillo was an Associate for the Remittances and Development program at the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington, DC. In this role, she served as a project manager, conducted market research, and provided technical assistance to financial institutions. Her research and analysis focused on migrant transnational economic activities in the United States and various countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia, Africa, and Europe. Based on this research, Ms. Castillo led the development of a financial literacy model, which was implemented in the same regions worldwide.

Ms. Castillo was also a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs in Pittsburgh, PA, and a Fulbright Scholar in Ecuador, where her research focused on the financial intermediation of remittances from Ecuadorian emigrants. She received her B.A. in political studies and Latin American studies from Pitzer College.
Anthony Hannagan
Data Analysis Manager, U.S. Financial Diaries

Anthony Hannagan manages the analysis of the Diaries data. Data analysis in USFD encompasses a variety of topics as the project progresses through phases, which include survey-software testing, fieldwork monitoring, a retrospective validation of the data with households, and analysis-phase projects in data exploration, understanding data quality, and the ongoing effort to piece together the evidence to learn about households' experiences and strategies. Anthony has been with the analysis team since it was preparing for data collection in early 2012.

Before joining the USFD team, Anthony worked in international development research. He researched growth indicators as an assistant at Boston College, where he earned an M.A. in economics, and worked in international economic consulting as an undergraduate. Anthony's undergraduate studies focused on economics and mathematics at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Research Team

Alex C. Bibb, Field Researcher • Mayra S. Cerda, Field Researcher • Kate Marsh Dole, Editor • Karen Y. Durgans, Field Researcher • Maria Enache, Data Analyst • Elizabeth Engle, Intern • Luzdary Giraldo, Field Researcher • Naishia Jackson, Field Researcher • Barbara Kiviat, Research Associate • Aishwarya Kumar, Graduate Assistant • Jean Lee, Post-Doctoral Fellow • Fredy Llanos, Field Researcher • Mithu Maniruzzaman, Field Researcher • Zac McDermott, Data Analyst • Kristen McNeill, Graduate Assistant • Olivia L. Montgomery, Field Researcher • Rourke O'Brien, Research Associate • Spencer Perry, Intern • Angela Profeta, Doctoral Researcher • Karla C. Reyes, Field Researcher • Joyce Roberson, Field Researcher • Kyle Schoolar, Field Researcher • Zackary Seaverns, Intern • Julie Siwicki, Field Researcher and Research Associate • Viral Tarpara, Graduate Assistant • Lisa Caiying Xu, Graduate Assistant

The USFD Advisory Board


Oren Bar-Gill
Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Center for Law, Economics and Organization, NYU Law School
Michael S. Barr
Professor of Law, University of Michigan
Ray Boshara
Senior Advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Janis Bowdler
Managing Director of Consumer Financial Empowerment and Affordable Housing, JPMorgan Chase Foundation
Alan P. Branson
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Hope Enterprise Corporation and Hope Credit Union
John Caskey
Professor of Economics, Swarthmore College
Jose Cisernos
Treasurer, The City and County of San Francisco
J. Michael Collins
Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Sheldon Danziger
President, The Russell Sage Foundation
Randy Dotemoto
Senior Vice President at Kinecta Federal Credit Union and President at Kinecta Alternative Financial Solutions
Kathryn Edin
Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, Department of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University
Amelia Erwitt
Managing Director, Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund
Gina Harman
President and CEO, ACCION Network in the U.S.
David John
Senior Strategic Policy Advisor, AARP
Jeffrey Liebman
Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Cathie Mahon
CEO, National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions
Justin Maxson
President, MACED
Sendhil Mullainathan
Professor of Economics, Harvard University
Manuel Orozco
Senior Associate and Director of Remittances and Development, Inter-American Dialogue
Leigh Phillips
Chief Executive Officer, EARN
William M. Rogers III
Professor of Public Policy and Chief Economist, Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University
David Rothstein
Researcher and Asset Building Project Director, Policy Matters Ohio
Ellen Seidman
Senior Fellow, Urban Institute
Luz Urrutia
Former President, El Banco de Nuestra Comunidad
Sudhir Venkatesh
William B. Ransford Professor of Sociology, Columbia University

Funders

Leadership support for USFD is provided by the Ford Foundation and the Citi Foundation, with additional support and guidance from the Omidyar Network.