If you think of the average financial services customer as a balance sheet, the past decade has been the age of liabilities. Banks and nonbank lenders have built their businesses on giving loans, particularly unsecured personal loans. But that era is coming to an end. There is no more capacity to take on credit. So what will be the key theme of the next decade? We think the consumer balance sheet has to be rescued. And that suggests a different kind of business model for financial services companies. It will be driven by consumer and political pressures — a backlash against the practices of the past, and a demand that financial services companies demonstrate that they are doing the right thing for consumers. What does this approach look like? First, it is not about avoiding debt entirely. It is not about saving and never consuming. It is not about removing consumer choice. Rather, it is about giving consumers the kinds of products that ensure their balance sheets support a good life...

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