Financial Counseling and Financial Access Among Job Training Participants

Offering bank accounts improves the financial capability of a vulnerable population?

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Michael Collins, Nathalie Gons, & Kasey Wiedrich prepared this brief on financial counseling and financial access among job training participants.   The results of the study show that integrating access to financial products and services is feasible at scale. The high take-up rate of bank accounts suggests that unbanked participants had a strong desire to become banked and would take advantage of an opportunity if offered an account that had agreeable terms and was easy to open.

Research suggests that financial education and financial access may improve financial knowledge, behavior, and outcomes. However, prior studies have lacked a formalized quasi-experimental framework that facilitates a causal analysis of financial counseling, and few have examined a population as financially distressed as the focal respondents in the current study. In addition, the extant research largely examines the impacts of financial education and financial access as a single treatment, without attempts to untangle interactions or assess “bundling” strategies.