Structural barriers in our global financial system still breed racial, gender, ethnic and geographic inequity. As we recover from the COVID-19 crisis, we have an opportunity to break down the pillars of systemic bias and foster a more inclusive economy.

AIR is reaching for this goal. We are helping Minority Depository Institutions develop digital modernization tools to serve communities of color. We are engaging with partners like the Gates Foundation and central banks on economic empowerment initiatives to expand digital financial services for women around the world. We are highlighting female talent throughout the financial services sector. And we are promoting responsible AI-based underwriting and regulatory tools to reduce bias.


INITIATIVE • AIR Initiative to Create Digital Transformation Road Map for MDIs

The MDI ConnectTech initiative helps participating Minority Depository Institutions assess their technology capability, identify digital offerings to benefit their customers, and establish a road map to implement third-party digital solutions.

PODCAST • Saving Minority Depository Institutions: Nicole Elam and Robert James

Elam and James, who lead the national trade association representing MDIs, come on the show to discuss how these specialized companies are struggling in the face of technological change, competition from larger banks and other forces.

PODCAST • Rep. Gregory Meeks on Technology’s Power to Expand Financial Inclusion

The New York Democrat and House Financial Services Committee member has embraced digital financial solutions as a way to strengthen low-income communities. He sits down with Jo Ann to discuss the Community Reinvestment Act, bipartisanship in Congress and more.

PODCAST • Activism and Algorithms: Making Lending Fairer

Lisa Rice, CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance, is a civil rights activist. Kareem Saleh is a tech guy who founded the startup FairPlay, which uses AI analytics. They come from different worlds, but have teamed up to combat unfair lending.

PODCAST • The Reserve Bank of India’s Path to Financial Inclusion

Rajesh Bansal is head of India’s Reserve Bank Innovation Hub, which along with AIR hosted the Swanari TechSprint looking at ways to expand financial services access for women. He speaks with Jo Ann about the country’s pioneering innovation strategy.

BLOG • Power of empowerment: Swanari TechSprint Takeaways

AIR was a partner with India’s Reserve Bank Innovation Hub on a tech competition and ideas forum exploring digital financial services solutions for women’s economic advancement.

TECHSPRINT • AIR, U.K. Regulator Team Up on Women’s Empowerment TechSprint

The Alliance for Innovative Regulation and Financial Conduct Authority partnered on a transatlantic competition and conference examining ways to address the disproportionate impact of the COVID pandemic on women.

EVENT • Community Banks and Innovation: Helping Small Banks Compete

Community banks are vital to economic wellbeing but are under stress. Challenged to compete with large banks and fintechs, smaller institutions could pioneer focused innovation, but need access to technology to serve customers and cut costs.

PODCAST • How Daylight Aims to Remove Barriers for the LGBTQ Community

CEO Rob Curtis speaks with Jo Ann about his journey in launching the fintech startup that serves the unique banking needs of LGBTQ customers without the stigma and bias they often encounter in financial services.

BLOG • Companies Excelling at Diversity Also Lead on Innovation

Nick Cook, AIR’s head of strategy, outlines years of studies showing how organizations that favor diverse thinking, staff heterogeneity and inclusiveness formulate and execute the best new ideas.

PODCAST • Cleve Mesidor on Diversifying the Tech Sector

Jo Ann talks with the founder of the National Policy Network of Women of Color in Blockchain for the South by Southwest conference. Cleve shares insights about the lack of diversity at technology firms and what to do about it.

PODCAST • The Mojaloop Foundation’s Drive for an Interoperable Financial System

The foundation’s leaders, Paula Hunter and Lesley-Ann Vaughan, speak with Jo Ann about their work to expand financial inclusion through open-source software with interoperability as a central component. The word mojaloop means “one” in Swahili.

WHITE PAPER • Harvard Papers on Financial Inclusion

Fifty years of U.S. regulation aimed at promoting financial inclusion and consumer fairness has largely failed. In these papers, AIR CEO Jo Ann Barefoot reports on her two years as a Harvard senior fellow, arguing that new technology can lead to better results.

NEWS • AIR Partners with Visa to Help Minority Banks and Credit Unions Close Tech Gap

The MDI Digital Modernization initiative seeks to strengthen competitiveness and customer access at Minority Depository Institutions to narrow the racial wealth gap.

OP-ED • How Policymakers Can Encourage Responsible Innovation

The pace of digital transformation in financial services is exponential. Regulators play a critical role to ensure that this technological change is used for good, according to an op-ed co-written by AIR Executive Director David Ehrich.

Get involved

Stay informed by joining our mailing list