Financial Inclusion 2014: MasterCard Foundation Addresses a Growing Concern

This is an excerpt from the blog of Carol Realini, a mobile banking pioneer, an expert in financial service innovation and a member of the Juntos Finanzas board.

In theory, financial services should be available to everyone, regardless of economic status. However, reality paints a different picture. The lack of financial inclusion that extends to all classes is a serious cause of concern, which has prompted MasterCard to host the MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion. Held in Turin, Italy from July 16 to 18, this symposium focused on the fact that there are still at least 2.5 billion people who don’t have affordable and convenient access to financial services despite modern technology. Big-name speakers discussed ways to reach out to excluded groups in spite of the challenges and issues that hinder their progress. While this task isn’t easy, it’s clear that the symposium recognized the need to address the problem of financial exclusion in a modern and connected world where inclusion should be the default.

To read more about the innovative solutions that were highlighted at the Symposium, read Carol’s full post:

Redefining Relationship

8.4 million and counting. That’s how many views this video uploaded by TD Canada has gotten in two weeks. The video shows customers’ reactions when TD changed their ATMs across Canada “Automated Thanking Machines” for a day.


The machines greet customers by name and begin a two-way conversation. As the conversation continues, the customers are surprised with personalized gifts. A mother receives piggy banks and $1,000 to start an education savings plan for each of her children plus tickets to DisneyLand. A die-hard Blue Jays fan gets a personalized jersey and is greeted by Jose Bautista who tells him he’ll get to throw out a first pitch. Another mother, whose only daughter recently underwent surgery for cancer, receives money and a plane ticket to visit her daughter in Trinidad.

It is easy to see why the video has gone viral. It is heart-warming and inspiring–two adjectives that aren’t often used to describe banks. In fact, Accenture’s Digital Banking Survey found that 71% of customers consider their banking relationship to be transactional rather than relationship driven.

The TD Thanks You videos makes everyone who watches think differently about the relationship TD has with their customers. What if other banks could spark a more permanent, large-scale transformation of how clients view their banking relationship?

At Juntos, our automated messaging platform allows us to create warm customer engagement that has the potential to do just that. Like the conversations that the Automated Thanking Machine had with select clients, the conversations that all users have with Juntos through their phone are personalized and two-way. Through these text message conversations on mobile phones, users begin to talk to their bank in the same way that they talk when messaging their loved ones.

Although Juntos doesn’t gift users with big-ticket items, we do give our users a gift that we believe is at least as transformational. We listen. We give users space to share their goals and dreams, their insecurities and fears. Money is an important tool in these stories so we provide users with personalized financial coaching. These conversations help our users feel that they are not alone because their bank is on their side. This empowers users to feel confidence and control in their financial journeys. And that is a gift that keeps on giving.