Advance Memphis Begins Research on Banking and Savings Habits in South Memphis

Memphis, TN – August 23, 2017 – Advance Memphis is very excited about a multi-year research study that was developed and started this summer by Josh Fikkert, an intern from Covenant College. The study will evaluate the long-term impact of Individual Development Accounts (IDA). IDA is one of the programs utilized by Advance Memphis and used around the country to stimulate savings, banking, and asset purchase as a means to financial stability for people who may be working, but remain trapped in poverty.  Most studies currently available on the effectiveness of IDA only follow participants for about six months after purchase, and tend to focus exclusively on asset acquisition. This new study will attempt to follow and compare our participants in Work Life, who receive little financial literacy training; Faith & Finances, who receive very specific training in financial management; and IDA participants, who actually enter into a matched savings and asset purchase program. The study will compare saving and banking habits of the groups for up to two years after they complete the programs. The study specifically asks two questions: (1) “Are Faith & Finances and/or IDA participants more likely to demonstrate long-term savings behavior?” and (2) “Is IDA participation positively correlated with long-term banking habits?”. Saving and banking are factors that contribute to financial stability in peoples’ lives.

Sylvia Turner recently opened an IDA at Independent Bank to save for start her own daycare business.

A presentation that introduces the research study and provides anecdotal information based on recent interviews can be found here: Evaluating the Impact of Individual Development Accounts on Savings Habits and Banking Relationships.

Josh Fikkert, a senior at Covenant College, is a Community Development and Philosophy major. We are thankful for Josh’s work this summer as an intern and for our continued relationship with Covenant College and the Chalmers Center at Covenant College. The Chalmers Center is a non-profit that works to equip churches and organizations to declare and demonstrate to the materially poor that Jesus Christ is making all things new. Advance Memphis has hosted numerous interns from Covenant College’s Community Development major over the years and is grateful for its ongoing relationship with the Chalmers Center as a training partner, a field-test site for curriculum development, and as a co-developer of the Work Life curriculum.

Advance Memphis will be looking for volunteers and interns to help gather and collate data from interviews and surveys of over two hundred program participants in the next several years to ensure study efficacy. If you would like to participate in any of our programs or help facilitate the study please contact Bryce Stout at