February 12, 2020 – Ann Arbor, Michigan – Impact Studio faculty director Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks was on hand to engage Adrienne Harris in a lively discussion about her work in governmental and corporate strategy around financial inclusion and fintech availability to the underserved. Ms. Harris is a U-M Ford School Professor and Gates Foundation Senior Research Fellow, and also advises fintech companies, incumbent financial institutions, and large venture capital firms. Sanchez-Burks and Harris were joined by student Gabrielle Alves, VP of Diversity and Inclusition for the Ross MBA Finance Club.
During the presentation, Ms. Harris described fintech and how it is different from simply “finance with computers.” She clarified the challenges of the financially underserved and considered ways to bring financial inclusion to them. Given her experience working in the Obama administration and with various financial companies, her breadth of vision included levers to nudge policymakers, influencers, and government in the work of alleviating mistrust.
Harris said, “(Finance) is emotional, it’s personal, it’s stressful, it’s all of these things and you’re basically expected to just hand it over, whether it’s the money itself or it’s our login,” Harris said. “When fintech first came along they were like, ‘We’re not the big financial institutions.’ … But that also used to be the case, sort of, with Google and Facebook, so we’ll see how this changes. I think we start off feeling trustworthy and become less so over time.” She concluded with advise to future graduates from law school or business school.