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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.

MAF’s 12 Data Points of Christmas

Happy Holidays, from our MAF familia to yours! As the year comes to a close, we are reflecting not only on 2018, but on one decade of living our values in the community. Over the past 10 years, MAF has provided Lending Circles, immigration and business loans, DACA fee assistance,

My MAF Journey: Bridging Tech and Financial Inclusion

In celebration of the MAF Lab having hit its one-year mark, we want to recognize the role and work of our Tech Advisory Council in supporting our successes. We’ll be sharing a series of blog posts from TAC members, starting with one from co-chair Kathryn Weinmann.   Everyone should try

New MyMAF Financial Education on Self-Employment

MAF’s clients often turn to creative strategy to manage their financial lives; faced with barriers to accessing formal income opportunities, our clients innovate. One such strategy we’ve seen is self-employment: 31% of our clients identified as being self-employed, small business owners, or contractors. Moreover, we’ve heard from our DACA clients

Invisible Barriers: Navigating Financial Services with an ITIN

Invisible Barriers: Navigating Financial Services with an ITIN DOWNLOAD America’s financial landscape is littered with invisible barriers. These barriers take many forms, including credit scores, bank accounts, and identification requirements. For millions of people in this country, that invisible barrier is an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number or an ITIN. ITINs

Navigating the Financial System with an ITIN

“Impossible” is not a word in Regina’s vocabulary. Her savviness and tenacity stood out to us within minutes of meeting her one Monday afternoon. She walked confidently through MAF’s door, took a seat, and launched into her story, painting a picture of a personal and financial journey marked by unwavering

Insights from Census Outreach Campaign

Immigrants, like other marginalized communities, are labeled as “hard-to-count” by the United States Census Bureau. The implication is that immigrants are in some way lacking, whether in information or interest. Our work says otherwise. This spring, MAF lead a thoughtful, targeted census outreach campaign. By crafting emotionally engaging, culturally relevant

MyMAF: Mobile Insights During the COVID-19 Crisis

When we set out to create our new MyMAF back in 2018, we wanted to build something that would live up to our values. We would meet people where they are: on the go, with researchers noting a significant rise in the number of households who rely on their smartphones

5 Keys To Relevant, Intentional Campaigns

“Is there a Latino vote?” In the wake of the 2020 presidential campaign, this is a question being posed by pundits, pollsters, and politicians grappling to make sense of the turnout results. This year was a watershed moment for the Latino electorate, turning out at nearly twice the rate as
A Tale of Two Recoveries

A Tale of Two Recoveries: How Immigrant Families Survived COVID-19

Lately, we’ve been hearing in the news how most American households are doing much better financially today than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic. From stimulus checks and unemployment insurance to the expanded Child Tax Credit, federal COVID-19 relief played a critical role in helping families survive, and even improve

Designing Research Rooted in Immigrant Families’ Lived Experience

For more than 15 years, MAF has cultivated relationships with low-income communities by putting the best of finance and technology in their service. When COVID hit, we built on these relationships and support from funders to provide cash assistance to immigrants excluded from federal stimulus. The Immigrant Families Fund and

Finding Courage in Crisis

As the nation’s first guaranteed income program for immigrant families, MAF’s Immigrant Families Recovery Program (IFRP) has been laser-focused on holistically supporting families in their financial recovery while learning about what is good and working in their lives. It takes courage to persist in the face of exclusion and ongoing

Context is Everything

In our increasingly data-driven world, we often turn to numbers and data to understand complex issues, including the well-being of immigrant families. However, what data can’t always capture is the intricate context of people’s lives. This fall, MAF hosted the third webinar of our IFRP research series to dive deeper