HelloWallet today announced the launch of its revolutionary online financial guidance and management service. With Americans losing over $100 billion in recent years as a result of limited financial advice, HelloWallet now opens the doors of opportunity for all Americans to receive independent, unbiased and sophisticated financial guidance. HelloWallet's unique structure, defined by its independence from banks and coupled with the site's powerful analytics, will turn the tables on the financial services market and put banks to work for consumers for the first time. It is now available directly to consumers at hellowallet.com as well as through its institutional partners, which represents over 3.5 million people.
Eighty percent of Americans do not have a financial advisor to guide them through their financial decision making, creating punishing consequences for them. A recent report by the Pew Charitable Trusts, for instance, found that over $34 billion was paid in overdraft fees last year even though an estimated 70 percent of households have savings that could potentially cover the overdrawn amounts. Similarly, 20 million households are missing savings opportunities by keeping all of their money in low-interest checking accounts, while another 10 million households have no checking account at all. Another study by Harvard University found that one-third of fixed rate mortgage borrowers were paying more than 2 points above the mortgage yield, even though they most likely qualified for a lower rate.
Founded by former Brookings Institution consumer finance scholar Matt Fellowes, HelloWallet was developed to put this $100 billion back into the pockets of workers by providing access to affordable, individual, and simple-to-use unbiased financial guidance. In line with the company's mission to level the playing field, HelloWallet has also pledged to provide free service to at least 300,000 low-income families over the next five years - saving them an estimated $500 million.
"HelloWallet represents a new type of business in the financial services market, offering trustworthy advice unbeholden to banks and backed by a technology that offers analytical capabilities never before available to American consumers on a mass scale," said Matt Fellowes, CEO and founder of HelloWallet. "With our pledge to give away one free subscription to a low-income family for every five subscribers, we are delivering on our charter to be a social purpose enterprise by providing access to honest financial guidance for everyone."
The Rockefeller Foundation funded two non-profit organizations - Community Builders, Inc. and the Center for Economic Progress - to provide 10,000 subscriptions to Hello Wallet at no cost for low-income Americans as part of its $70 million Campaign for American Workers Initiative. The initiative was developed to address the growing concern that the social contract between working Americans and their government that honored hard work with the achievement of the American Dream is no longer working, and there is a need to develop affordable and portable tools that can help manage the family finances and save for the future as part of bringing that dream within reach.
"The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to support Community Builders, Inc. and the Center for American Progress as they provide 10,000 Americans - regardless of income - with the opportunity to access much needed no-cost financial advice from HelloWallet," said Dr. Judith Rodin, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. "Seventy-eight million households are currently not saving enough money to retire, and yet a 2008 Rockefeller Foundation/Time Magazine study showed that four out of five Americans are relying solely on themselves or family for financial support. As a result, the Foundation's $70 million Campaign for American Workers Initiative is investing in tools to help people build savings; advancing sound public policy to improve economic security; and creating reliable data to inform decision makers."
HelloWallet was also recognized by the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative as an innovative resource that could transform the way American consumers get ahead and stand as an intermediary between consumers and banks.