Systems Change, Public Policy, & Consumer Financial Protection
Changing systems to provide equal economic opportunity for all.
The Midas Collaborative, with its many partners and members, educates and advocates for policy change at both the state and federal levels. Proposed state and federal policies to protect communities and individuals draw on the grassroots experience of member organizations in asset building and protection against high-cost predatory financial lenders, products and services.
Midas investors and community partners are the voices in these legislative policy discussions, connecting personal finances with public policy. These discussions provide opportunities for leadership for the whole Midas team to promote economic policies that affect our communities..
Our fundamental concern, the potential for economic and political marginalization of our target population, which subsequently results in a permanent under-class and a political system that is unresponsive to the needs of the working poor, drives our policy and advocacy efforts at the following legislative levels:
Midas led a coalition of public/private advocates to promote, enact, and implement the Massachusetts Asset Development Commission. Co-chaired by State Senator James Eldridge and Undersecretary Tina Brooks from the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Commission’s report outlined the state of asset building in the Commonwealth, and gathered research and ideas on how it could be improved. The report highlighted the need to improve state-imposed barriers to saving, promotion of financial education, and prevention of asset-stripping by predatory lenders, products and services. The Commission made major policy recommendations, many of which are underway currently. See full report here (PDF).
Our current priorities are:
Advancement of asset building among low and moderate income families through continued support for matched savings programs:
- Endorsement of restoring of state funding for matched savings programs.
- Development of measures to evaluate, enhance, and improve matched savings programs.
Consumer protection legislation including:
- Debt collection regulation
- Protections for residents experiencing foreclosures or other catastrophic financial transitions by updating asset exemptions in cases of financial insolvency.
- Consumer protections on unsolicited loan instruments, including notification and time limitations.
- Updated state and federal policies and regulations to protect borrowers from high-cost and predatory consumer loans.
- Increased consumer protection with respect to tax-related financial products through education and regulation
- Protection from predatory lending by for-profit schools, and advocacy for more state and federal funds for state and community colleges.
- Creating a mechanism to promote and coordinate effective financial education statewide.
- Integrating financial education into the public K-12 education system to improve financial literacy in the formative years.
- Connecting financial education to existing services and benefits for low and moderate-income populations.
We work with organizations, agencies, and other stakeholders in consumer financial protection to promote a safe economy; The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, The FDIC, the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the National Consumer Law Center, the Center for Responsible Lending, the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the State Treasurer, the Mass Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, and many others.
To find your elected officials please visit www.wheredoivotema.com.
Advocacy training at the State House.
On the national level we support the work of our national partner, CFED, in promoting savings incentives, financial education, and asset building. To review the CFED policy agenda please visit www.cfed.org/policy.