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Our Research

San Francisco, EST 2014

Guided by our values, MAF’s research uplifts the good in people’s lives. We know our clients are financially savvy and respect them as the experts in managing their finances — so we focus not only on the barriers they face but also on the strategies that they use to navigate these challenges and achieve their goals. Our research shines a light on their financial journeys and strategies, and use these insights to push for legislation and systemic reform that moves us toward a more equitable financial mainstream.

What data are we drawing from

Over more than a decade, MAF has worked with over 10K clients, building a total loan pool of over $10 million. Our research draws on the unique insights and depth of information we have from these clients. During our engagement in our clients’ financial lives, we are able to collect 800 data points on each individual – spanning the personal and credit profiles of our clients.

Why we do research

The Research team works with the community to put our data and analysis to work for clients. We provide actionable insights, inspired by clients’ financial lives, that we, other financial services providers, philanthropists, policy makers, and members of the community can use to inform our work. By rigorously developing these insights from our programmatic data, we are able to:

  • Support MAF’s core values of meeting our clients where they are, respect their expertise, and build on their strengths and innovations.
  • Help guide the development of future programs that respond to our clients’ needs and realities.
  • Share our learnings with other organizations to help them better work with the communities we serve.
  • Capitalize on our data to help our clients, partners, and others advocate for a fairer financial marketplace.

Lending Circle Program Evaluation Released

At MAF, we’re all about understanding the impact of our work in the communities that use our products. Over the years, we have seen hundreds of people who have been on the margins of the financial mainstream walk through our doors looking for a way to help themselves navigate the

Social loans enable affordable credit

How do social loans help people get a better deal? By giving them a chance to build on what they have. As a recent college grad myself, I know that just because I have a credit score doesn’t mean it’s a good one. In fact, many of my peers and I

The Credit Catch 22

There’s always a catch. With credit, there’s a Catch 22! It’s too easy for hardworking people to get stuck in this Credit Catch 22. For example, if you want to build a great credit history, you have to have lines of credit. But in order to be approved for lines

Love and Money

Yale Sociology Professor Fred Wherry explains how money can complicate love. What makes life worth living also makes it harder to navigate: Love. We love our families, our neighbors, and our houses of worship. Where our love lies, our treasure lies also. When a baby is born, we buy gifts.

SB 896: A Special Policy Briefing

Join MAF’s CEO, Jose Quinonez, in a discussion on the historic passing of California’s SB 896 Mission Asset Fund warmly invites you to our SB 896 Policy Briefing webinar on Monday, September 29 at 10:00 AM PST. MAF’s CEO, Jose Quinonez, will lead the discussion on the historic passing of

Hierarchy of Financial Needs: An Introduction

MAF’s Hierarchy of Financial Needs provides a framework for evaluating every person’s economic well-being. Eight years into our mission to build a fair financial marketplace for hardworking families, we at MAF know that Lending Circles are empowering participants to build credit, reduce debt, and increase savings. But how do those

An Important Question for Every Relationship: “What’s Your Credit Score?”

From finding your next great relationship to paying for a special night out, having good credit is important. This blog was originally published on CFED’s “Inclusive Economy” blog as part of the Assets & Opportunity National Week of Action. We all love the excitement of getting a notification that someone is

Respect, Meet, Build: A Model for Financial Inclusion

Financial inclusion is about respecting people for who they are, meeting them where they are, and building on what’s good in their lives. Last week as part of CFED’s Assets & Opportunity National Week of Action, Mohan Kanungo—an A&O Network Steering Committee Member and Director of Programs & Engagement here at MAF—wrote about

Policy Must Uplift People’s Strengths, Not Criticize Their Character

A recent article from sociologist Philip N. Cohen underscores the importance of policies that respect the dignity & strengths of the families we serve. Last week Philip N. Cohen, professor of sociology at the University of Maryland and senior scholar with the Council on Contemporary Families, published an article in

Honored with the Bullard Award by Princeton’s Wilson School

On April 9, the Students & Alumni of Color at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School honored me with the Edward P. Bullard Award. I was deeply grateful, and shared this message with my peers. Thank you so very much. It means a great deal to me to receive this award. I

The Power of Community: Expanding Opportunities for AAPI Immigrants

A community of nonprofits is building the financial capability of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) immigrants across the country. When you bring together families, friends, and neighbors to help each other achieve their shared financial dreams, you’re leveraging the power of community. This practice of lending and borrowing money

Innovations: Making the Invisible Visible

CEO Jose Quinonez gives a behind-the-scenes look into MAF’s origin story in MIT Press’s “Innovations” journal. The following excerpt was originally published in “Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization,” a journal published by MIT Press. Read the full essay here. I was 20 years old when I realized that my mother had