Millions of Americans remain underbanked, and roughly half report that they would not be able to cover more than two months of expenses in the event of job loss. In this episode of the Future of America podcast, McKinsey senior partner André Dua talks with Michael Froman, Mastercard’s vice chairman and president for strategic growth, about the challenges of financial inclusion and the opportunities to build “financial health and wellness” for all Americans, as well as how businesses can follow through on their commitments to sustainable, inclusive growth. An edited transcript of their conversation follows.
André Dua: Welcome to episode seven of McKinsey’s Future of America podcast, where we explore how we can build a future that drives sustainable and inclusive growth. Join us in this conversation with leaders who are accelerating progress to grow, broaden, and sustain prosperity for more Americans.
I’m your host for today, André Dua. Today I’m joined by Mastercard’s Mike Froman. Mike leads the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and is a member of the company’s management committee. Mike, welcome and thanks for being here today.
Mike Froman: Thanks for having me.
André Dua: Before we get into the details of topics such as inclusive growth and financial inclusion, I wanted to start with a little personal background. You’ve held a variety of absolutely fascinating roles in your career, across both the public and private sectors, and it’d be great if you could tell our listeners a bit about your background.
Mike Froman: I’ve been a recidivist in government going back and forth between government and the private sector. I served in the Clinton Administration at the White House and at Treasury, focusing mostly on international economics. I then went to Citigroup, where I ran a number of different businesses, and then went back [to the public sector] during the Obama administration, also working on international economics and trade. And now I’m at Mastercard, where I focus on financial inclusion, inclusive growth, and a variety of other topics.
I’d have to say, I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to go into government twice. And when I was thinking back on my career recently, I realized what attracted me was that nexus of the public and the private sectors and what each could bring to the table to deal with significant economic and social issues, and how they can work together to do that.
When I was in government, I was thinking about how the private sector could play a role. When I was in the private sector, I was thinking about what it could do to support government in its efforts. And that has really been a major motivator for me.
André Dua: Would you say you feel that to solve the bigger issues of our time, we actually need the private and public sectors to work together?
Mike Froman: Absolutely. And I’d say the social sector, the nonprofit sector, philanthropy. Each has a very important role in trying to address these issues. None can do it completely on their own. And in the best circumstances, it really does take drawing on all three in their particular areas of expertise to be able to achieve the optimal objectives.
André Dua: The world is pretty turbulent at the moment. Given your background and some of the roles you had in government, and given the moment we’re in, I wanted to get your reflections on a few things: What is all this turbulence and what are all these different cross-currents in the world? What do you think they mean for the average American family? What are the kinds of things that you see?
Mike Froman: It is certainly, I think, probably the most complex time in my lifetime with all of these things coming together at once. And for all the talk about deglobalization, I think, in fact, one thing that we’re seeing is just how interconnected we are, how the well-being of a family in the United States is inextricably linked with what’s going on halfway around the world with COVID-19, with economic trends, with the war in Ukraine, and that all of this affects us here back at home. And we don’t always see that in our day-to-day lives, but I think, if anything, these crises have pulled us closer together in many respects.
André Dua: I think a common theme in your work—and this is relevant to the American family, as you say—has been trying to expand access to financial services. We’ve been […]
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