Launching new project on global consumer finance research

Gawain Lynch and I are happy to announce that we have just begun a new project with the IMTFI on global research in consumer finance.

Over the next eight months we will be surveying research in consumer finance globally to understand how changes in consumer finance globally are affecting consumers, and how researchers are adapting to understand consumers as they grapple with these changes.

We will be looking into research innovations in all kinds of areas — commercial operations, NGOs, government, and academia. While these sectors often have very different problems to solve, and serve distinct groups of people, they often face similar problems in understanding people's financial behaviours. Product proliferation, changing regulatory environments, and shifting national borders are among the factors that each sector needs to take into account, even when they are attempting to understand a specific local population.

Researchers across all of these sectors are responding to global changes by innovating their approaches to understanding consumers. We stand to learn a lot from each other, but few of us have the time to look into what people in other sectors of consumer finance are doing. This project aims to bridge the knowledge gap, creating outputs that all consumer finance researchers can use.

Opportunities for new approaches are present in all stages of research, from conceptualization to planning, execution, analysis, and testing.

For example, the IMTFI's researchers, scattered around the globe, are adapting their research to changes in the payments space while they are in the field.

Companies such as banks are hiring people with diverse research specialities and exploring ways to bring qualitative data together so as to turn data into actionable insights.

The increasing availability of large data sets means that we have new sources to analyse that were not available before, and these are being deployed as part of mixed methods approaches.

We are working with the IMTFI and other stakeholders to begin the conversation and explore recent advances in consumer finance research around the world. The project’s outputs will showcase current practices from a diverse range of geographic and industry contexts.

Our first major output will be a toolkit of methods used in consumer finance research. The toolkit will showcase qualitative and quantitative methods, share innovations, and present case studies of how methods are used by individuals and teams working towards different goals.

When finished it will be freely available to all. In the new year it will be released as a beta version so that we can incorporate feedback

We would like to invite everyone to get involved. If you’d like to share your thoughts and research experiences, you an contact me at erin@erinbtaylor.com. The more people we have involved, the better our global comparisons will be, and the more we can all benefit from their lessons. You can also read more about the project on the IMTFI’s blog.