About the Consumer Finance Institute

The Consumer Finance Institute studies credit and payment markets to understand how they affect consumers and the economy. We produce state-of-the-art, policy-relevant research available to all. We also convene academic experts, the financial industry, and the general public to collaborate on research and generate insights into fostering healthy household finances, a stable financial system, and a resilient regional and national economy.

Our Growth

Launched in 2017, the Institute is a signature initiative of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. It builds on decades of research experience, including the establishment of the Philadelphia Fed’s Payment Cards Center in 2000 that focused on payment cards and their role in the financial system and broader economy.

Over the years, additional topics were integrated into this line of work, ultimately leading to the creation of the Institute. Our research agenda brings together experts on consumer finance and payments with other critical perspectives to develop an understanding of consumer finance and its role in a healthy economy.

The Growth and Evolution of the Consumer Finance Institute

History History

Why Consumer Finance?

Consumers are vital to the U.S. economy, driving more than two-thirds of the nation’s gross domestic product. The Institute seeks to inform economic policy by learning more about how consumers purchase and invest and especially how they finance those purchases and investments.

We also analyze how financial market conditions and regulatory environments influence consumer behavior, focusing in particular on how such frameworks influence economic growth and financial stability.

Harker

“There has never been a more important time for research on the complex ways Americans spend, save, and owe. These affect both the overall U.S. and local economies — and, of course, individuals, families, and communities.”

Patrick T. Harker, President and CEO
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

How Do We Work?

The Institute is designed to build on the special strengths of the Philadelphia Fed.

Combine Diverse Areas of Expertise

For decades, the Philadelphia Fed has employed economists, industry and policy experts, regulatory analysts, and community development specialists, all with deep knowledge of consumer credit and payments. We combine these perspectives to inform theoretical and empirical research, creating fresh perspectives and new knowledge.
Meet Our Researchers >

Refine Data and Make Them Accessible

We make a variety of statistics available to the public through our Consumer Credit Snapshot and Consumer Payments Snapshot. These resources provide historical perspective, promote a better understanding of high-level trends, and contribute insights to the public discourse.
Explore Our Statistics >

Convene Unique Events

We offer opportunities for researchers and practitioners to present their findings and engage with representatives from industry, academia, nonprofit organizations, and regulatory agencies. These discussions inform new research perspectives and focus attention on important and timely issues in consumer finance and payment markets.
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