Company’s ongoing partnership with the Financial Health Network continues to remove barriers to financial wellness.
By Ron Varrial
Furthering work to drive the crucial collaboration required to solve systemic societal issues, Prudential made a $10 million contribution to the Financial Solutions Lab, a new initiative by the Financial Health Network, a nonprofit organization that brings together diverse industry innovators to remove barriers to financial wellness, specifically in underserved markets.
It’s the latest effort in Prudential’s long-term commitment to close the racial wealth gap, including many years working with the Financial Health Network. The Financial Solutions Lab is the research and development and innovation arm of the group, and invests in diverse fintech solutions.
Yanela Frias, president of Prudential Retirement, announced the company’s support at EMERGE, a forum that brings together business leaders, policymakers and innovators to improve the financial health of their customers, employees and communities and works to solve financial challenges communities are facing.
“Given the growing economic inequalities in our country, Prudential is increasingly focused on equipping historically underserved communities and individuals with the tools and support they need to get on a path to economic and social mobility,” Frias said. “Our work with the Financial Solutions Lab will get capital into the hands of startups led by people from different backgrounds, ethnicities and genders, and this will help fund and scale solutions for low- to moderate-income individuals.”
Through research, advisory services, measurement tools and opportunities for cross-sector collaboration, the Financial Health Network focuses on improving the financial health of the underserved in America. Prudential joins JPMorgan Chase as a major corporate supporter of the lab.
The work with the Financial Health Network aligns with Prudential’s long-term efforts to drive racial equity. The company has long advocated for paid leave legislation—which especially supports low- and middle-income workers—as well as the development of financial products for those who are not traditional full-time employees.
“We must build a pathway for low- to moderate-income families to get to the middle class. We’ve got so many workers who are not in the system working for traditional employers, we’ve got to rethink the way we deliver financial wellness solutions, not just to employers, but to all workers. If we want the workforce of the future to be productive, we’ve got to have equity across the workforce, and we have to have equal access as well,” Jamie Kalamarides, president of Prudential Group Insurance, said during a virtual panel discussion at EMERGE.
For some time, Prudential has partnered with nonprofit organizations to create innovative, inclusive financial solutions. An example is an emergency savings program that uses paycheck and payroll deductions, like a 401(k).
Innovation and experimentation are at the heart of the work Prudential and the Financial Health Network have undertaken together in recent years. The two have partnered on several strategic efforts focused on low- to moderate-income consumers, including two Inclusive Market summits and an ongoing engagement with Prudential Pathways, a financial education series, to increase the efficacy and impact of the program.
“It’s about pulling all of the levers we have at our disposal at Prudential. We are a large employer and a product developer. We wield significant purchasing power and investment capital,” Lata Reddy, senior vice president, Inclusive Solutions, said during EMERGE. “We cannot let another crisis cycle go by where we disregard the interconnectedness between the corporate community, public entities and nonprofit organizations. We must seize this opportunity to build back better through true collaborative efforts. We can emerge from this crisis more just, more prosperous and more resilient by working together.”