Consumer Finance

Our Consumer Finance Institute researches how people earn, spend, save, and invest, as well as how credit markets and payment systems affect the economy. Our goal is to foster a healthy consumer sector, a stable financial system, and a resilient regional and national economy.

Facade of a historic building.

Mortgage Markets

Working Paper

Owner-Occupancy Fraud and Mortgage Performance

WP 23-01 – Occupancy fraud has been suggested as a contributor to the housing bubble. We show it was pervasive and remains present. Fraudulent investors accounted for an outsize share of defaults in the bust and pose a risk should prices decline.

CFI COVID-19 Survey of Consumers Data

To gain insights into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on financial security in the U.S., the Consumer Finance Institute at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia conducted a series of national surveys of consumers beginning in April 2020 and concluding in April 2022.


Consumer Credit


Q&A: Tom Akana on the COVID-19 Survey and Assessing Consumer Well-Being

In this Q&A, Tom Akana of our Consumer Finance Institute shares what we learned after two years tracking consumer well-being during the pandemic, why it’s important, and where we go from here.

Cryptocurrency Ownership: Insights from the CFI COVID-19 Survey of Consumers

Since the early 2010s, the rise of so-called cryptocurrencies has received significant attention from financial market participants, policymakers, and academics. Cryptocurrencies are digital or virtual currencies (such as bitcoin, Ethererum, Litecoin, and many others) in which transactions are verified and records are maintained by a decentralized, distributed ledger system using cryptography, rather than by a centralized authority.





The Fourth Workshop on Payments, Lending, and Innovations in Consumer Finance

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Consumer Credit

Working Paper

One Threshold Doesn’t Fit All: Tailoring Machine Learning Predictions of Consumer Default for Lower-Income Areas

WP 22-39 – Modeling advances create credit scores that predict default better overall, but raise concerns about their effect on protected groups.

Consumer Credit

Working Paper

Prior Fraud Exposure and Precautionary Credit Market Behavior

WP 22-36 – This paper studies how past experiences with privacy shocks affect individuals' take-up of precautionary behavior when faced with a new privacy shock in the context of credit markets.

Consumer Credit

Working Paper

Debtor Fraud in Consumer Debt Renegotiation

WP 22-35 – We study how forcing financially distressed consumer debtors to repay a larger fraction of debt can lead them to misreport data fraudulently.