There was a time when protecting the interests of consumers meant keeping you informed about faulty products, frauds (including predatory lending practices), and recalls—and while those concerns remain vital, the world today is raising new questions and challenges for consumers. This month’s issue takes a hard look at how shifting marketplaces can impact consumer choice.

With financial services becoming more intricate, more digital, and more central to our lives, our cover story investigates America’s banking practices to evaluate the options and offerings that families face today. Even as consolidations in the financial sector have threatened consumer choice, we’ve seen community banks, credit unions, and even virtual banks begin to innovate in remarkable new ways. Finding the right bank to protect your money, steer you toward the right mortgage or loan, and deliver you the experience you’re looking for is something that all consumers need in 2016—and we’re pushing deeper into that world to give you a clearer view.

Of course, banking isn’t the only field that has seen recent shifts. The final piece in our three-part series on the antibiotic resistance crisis looks into how the restaurant and fast-food industries are responding to growing demand for meat produced without antibiotics.

In the days and years ahead, you can count on us to step out onto new terrain wherever and whenever consumers are being impacted by changes in the marketplace. As the world evolves, Consumer Reports is evolving, too, to fight for your access to clear information and to help you overcome challenges where they exist today: on emerging frontiers.

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the January 2016 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.