Financial Services in the 21st Century: Groundbreaking White Paper Outlines Guidelines to Help Improve U.S. Financial Services Industry

CHICAGO, IL (April 26, 2012) – Guidelines that affirm standards of excellence in the design and delivery of basic financial tools can fundamentally improve the U.S. financial services marketplace, according to a white paper released today by the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI).

“Compass Principles: Guiding Excellence in Financial Services” outlines aspirational guidelines that encourage the financial services industry to be proactive, creative, and customer-focused when designing products and services. By using the Compass Principles, financial services companies can be profitable while at the same time help customers make day-to-day progress in the short term and build assets for the future.

“The Compass Principles were developed out of a need for higher quality products in the financial marketplace for underserved consumers—but the ideals of quality are no different for any user of a financial product or service,” says Jennifer Tescher, President & CEO of CFSI. “We believe the principles are a way to inspire financial innovation that links consumer success with provider success.”

Along with the vision and values of the Compass Principles, the paper highlights in detail each of the following principles:

1. Embrace Inclusion: Responsibly Expand Access

2. Build Trust: Develop Mutually Beneficial Products that Deliver Clear and Consistent Value

3. Promote Success: Drive Positive Consumer Behavior through Smart Design and Communication

4. Create Opportunity: Provide Options for Upward Mobility

In the fall of 2011, CFSI released a public draft of the Compass Principles white paper and sought feedback from providers, consumer advocates, policy makers, regulators, and other experts. The insights and feedback collected have enhanced the principles and ensured that the framework in the final white paper is as robust, comprehensive, and effective as possible.

CFSI is partnering with a variety of companies to craft formal commitments to integrate the Compass Principles into their business through approaches such as making enhancements to existing products and services, or developing new products and services with an emphasis on improving the financial lives of their customers. Plastyc, Inc. and Core Innovation Capital are the first companies to complete CFSI’s application process and finalize a Compass Commitment pledge. Plastyc is a leading independent provider of online banking and payment services. Core Innovation Capital, a strategic partner of CFSI and an investor in Plastyc, is a venture fund focused on investing in scalable financial technology companies that serve unbanked and underbanked.

Plastyc commits to the Compass Principle of embracing inclusion by providing expanded streamlined access to new and existing accounts for customers. Plastyc will also promote consumer success by fostering positive consumer behavior through interactive online help functionality and multi-channel messaging and alerts. "Plastyc is committed to applying the Compass Principles at a granular level in our products and services not only because it is right, but because it is good for business," said Patrice Peyret, co-founder and CEO of Plastyc, Inc. "The principles provide an excellent framework for financial service companies to earn customers’ trust by focusing on improving their day-to-day experience and long term well-being."

Core Innovation Capital commits to integrating the Compass Principles into its investment underwriting process and annual impact audit. “We believe financial services have a significant role in anyone’s upward mobility, and millions of responsible, hard-working Americans are stuck in a vicious cycle where their financial tools erode, instead of enhance their net worth and financial capabilities,” said Arjan Schütte, Managing Partner at Core. “CFSI’s Compass Principles initiative is a bold and critical effort to set a standard for how financial services can and should function for people.“

To learn more about Compass Commitments and about the Compass Principles framework articulated in the white paper, register for the webinar hosted by CFSI on May 8, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. CDT at

The complete white paper is free for download at the Center for Financial Services Innovation’s website,

The Compass Principles initiative is supported, in part, by the Ford Foundation and Omidyar Network.

About CFSI: The Center for Financial Services Innovation is the nation’s leading authority on financial services for underbanked consumers. Since 2004, its programs have focused on informing, connecting, and investing – gathering enhanced intelligence, brokering and supporting productive industry relationships, and fostering best-in-class products and strategies. CFSI works with leaders and innovators in the business, government and nonprofit sectors to transform the financial services landscape. For more on CFSI, go to or follow us on twitter @cfsinnovation.