December 8, 2020
The shortcomings of America’s retail financial systems became evident when the government responded to the economic fallout of the pandemic. The payment system moved slowly—it took as long as three months to get government payments to an estimated 100 million Americans, many of whom were facing sudden financial hardship. In July 2020, months after many other countries had disbursed stimulus payments into bank accounts—often within minutes—millions of Americans had not yet received their prepaid cards. In the absence of an identity system, some payments were sent to deceased people. Challenges also emerged with America’s credit-history based credit-scoring system. Even before the crisis exposed these shortcomings, the dated financial infrastructure in the U.S. has been a driver of inequality.
The panel discussion on 12/8/2020 discussed lessons from US pandemic response and the path to address those challenges.