The Office of Financial Empowerment uses its policy, research and advocacy arm to highlight emerging issues that impact financial empowerment, financial inclusion and racial equity. To build and inform awareness around financial empowerment, OFE researches and highlights key issues facing low-income San Franciscans, whether it is banks’ response to COVID-19 and systemic racism or student loan debt.


Blacklisted: How ChexSystems Contributes to Systemic Financial Exclusion
Blacklisted: How ChexSystems Contributes to Systemic Financial Exclusion
In this report we tackle the unfair, unequal and opaque consumer banking systems that have blacklisted so many low-income consumers, immigrants, and in particular Black consumers from the financial mainstream.
Systemic Barriers to Banking
Systemic Barriers to Banking
Since founding the Bank On movement in 2006, the Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) has found persistent disparities in banking access due to structural flaws in the financial system. This brief outlines four major systemic barriers to banking -- distrust of mainstream financial institutions, ChexSystems records, debt in collections and asset limits -- as well as opportunities to remove these barriers and increase banking access.
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Pre-Existing Conditions: Assessing the Financial Services Response to Racism, Inequality, and COVID-19
The Office of Financial Empowerment partnered with the California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC) to publish a report on financial services’ response to racism, inequality and COVID-19. As COVID-19 continues to ravage the health and economic security of millions of Americans, it is critically important to evaluate the relief efforts offered by financial institutions. And at this time, when our nation is confronted with the reality of its historic and systemic racism, it is crucial that we evaluate such relief efforts with a racial equity lens.
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Saving for College During COVID-19
The Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) crunched the numbers from the Kindergarten to College (K2C) program to quantify the impact of COVID-19 on families’ savings patterns and engagement with the K2C program.

OFE is committed to our flagship programming – K2C, Bank On, and Smart Money Coaching – but we also know that innovation is born from experimentation. OFE uses its policy, research, and advocacy arm to highlight emerging issues and design and test new programming to support financial empowerment and inclusion, and racial equity. OFE partners with other city departments to create, implement, and evaluate innovative programming to strengthen economic security and mobilityfor San Franciscans. With these projects, OFE seeks to incubate the next generation of financial empowerment programming while sharing learnings with advocates, policymakers, service providers, impacted communities, and other jurisdictions.