About Us

Smart Money Coaching began when a family experiencing homelessness won a below-market-rate unit in the City’s housing lottery, only to have their housing application denied because they had subprime credit. Officially launched in 2015, the program has helped thousands of people increase their own financial capability, providing the skills necessary to achieve positive financial outcomes and improve their financial well-being. 

Many of the financial challenges that Smart Money Coaching clients experience are due to structural and racist flaws embedded in the financial system, which is not designed to serve low-income consumers. Given this reality, Smart Money Coaches help to identify the barriers that prevent clients from accessing the financial mainstream and then outline clear and actionable steps to achieve resolutions so that their clients can strengthen their own financial capability. Financial coaching will never be the silver bullet to solving wealth inequality, but with a  deeper understanding of systemic barriers, Smart Money Coaches can provide the best available options for their clients’ unique financial  circumstances. 


Read our reports

Getting Smart About Financial Coaching
Read five ways to create meaningful and life-changing financial outcomes for the community with this report from Smart Money Coaching.
Blacklisted: How ChexSystems Contributes to Systemic Financial Exclusion
In this report we tackle the unfair, unequal and opaque consumer banking systems that have blacklisted so many low-income consumers, immigrants, and in particular Black consumers from the financial mainstream.
Systemic Barriers to Banking the Unbanked
Since founding the Bank On movement in 2006, the San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) has found persistent disparities in banking access due to structural flaws in the financial system. This brief outlines four major systemic barriers to banking -- distrust of mainstream financial institutions, ChexSystems records, debt in collections and asset limits -- as well as opportunities to remove these barriers and increase banking access. Read more here.
Pre-Existing Conditions: Assessing the Financial Services Response to Racism, Inequality, and COVID-19
A joint report done with the California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC). As COVID-19 continues to ravage the health and economic security of millions of Americans, it is critically important to evaluate the relief efforts offered by financial institutions. And at this time, when our nation is confronted with the reality of its historic and systemic racism, it is crucial that we evaluate such relief efforts with a racial equity lens.