CFED Expands Programs to Improve Asset-Building Opportunities for Low- and Moderate-Income Households
By Kristin Lawton on 10/24/2013 @ 10:00 AM
$500,000 grant from The JPMorgan Chase Foundation to support and strengthen local asset-building opportunities
CFED is excited to announce today that it will deploy $500,000 to strengthen the capacity of state and local nonprofits to ensure greater access to products, programs and policies that expand financial asset-building opportunities for low-to moderate-income consumers. The expansion is made possible by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, and is part of the firm’s broader efforts to provide $1.4 million in grants to leading nonprofits that promote the financial capability of consumers.
“Our goal at CFED is to develop and support programs that empower low- and moderate-income households. This generous grant from JPMorgan Chase will help us continue to work to achieve this goal,” said, Jennifer Brooks, Director of the Assets & Opportunity Network, CFED.
“Strengthening the pipeline of high-capacity organizations is critical to providing asset-building services to underserved communities. We are proud to support CFED’s efforts to share innovative financial capability strategies, build partnerships and support asset-building nonprofits to enhance their impact,” said Janis Bowdler, Managing Director, Financial Capability and Affordable Housing, JPMorgan Chase Foundation.
The JPMorgan Chase Foundation grant will support the following 2014 CFED activities:
- One-year pilot of the Capacity Building Initiative, a program designed to provide customized technical assistance to local and state asset-building leaders.
- Development and deployment of resources that help Assets & Opportunity Network members connect to, and learn from, peers and experts.
- Expansion of the Assets & Opportunity Network by recruiting and supporting nonprofits to deliver asset-building services and lead effective assets coalitions.
- 2013 Assets & Opportunity Network Leadership Convening, a national conference in Washington, D.C. The goal of the conference is to set the priorities for the CFED Network for the coming year, build relationships with peers and funders, and educate policymakers about financial access and inclusion issues.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.5 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, asset management and private equity. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers in the United States and many of the world's most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com.
New Projects Symbolize New Approaches to Helping Low-Income Families Build Wealth
By Sean Luechtefeld on 09/16/2013 @ 11:30 AM
Since last summer, CFED and the Assets & Opportunity Network have worked together to convene learning groups. These opportunities offer CFED and participating organizations the chance to work with and learn from each other about strategies that improve the well-being of economically disadvantaged members of communities across the country. This summer, four new peer learning opportunities have been made possible thanks to the Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF) ASSET Initiative Partnership, Bank of America Charitable Foundation, the MetLife Foundation and Wells Fargo, and we’re excited about the ways that these new opportunities will drive innovation, collaboration and scale in the field.
Here’s a preview of these four exciting new opportunities:
- Head Start Integration Cluster: This Intensive Learning Cluster will focus on integrating and/or expanding integration of financial-empowerment strategies into Head Start programs. On August 29, CFED—with support from the ACF’s ASSET Initiative Partnership—released a Request for Expressions of Interest for Head Start programs interested in receiving peer and expert advice on how to better offer, partner to provide or refer Head Start families and staff to asset-building services.
- Integrating Financial Capability into Social Service Delivery Systems: This Intensive Learning Cluster—sponsored by Bank of America Charitable Foundation—will bring together programs providing housing, workforce development and emergency assistance services that wish to strengthen the financial capability of the clients they serve. Technical assistance and peer learning opportunities will be provided over an 18-month period as organizations pilot an asset-building intervention and document outcomes and lessons learned.
- Savings Innovation Learning Clusters: These learning clusters—sponsored by MetLife Foundation—will bring together six direct service organizations that will develop and test innovative, “next generation” savings program models that help clients build emergency savings or save for longer term asset-building goals. Selected organizations will participate in peer learning opportunities both in-person and virtually over the course of 15 months, as well as receive individual technical assistance, to facilitate piloting and evaluation of their savings program models.
- Assets & Opportunity Network Peer Learning Groups: Starting this fall, CFED will facilitate the formation of Peer Learning Groups, sponsored by Wells Fargo. These groups will come together over the course of 3-6 months to advance a shared learning agenda about common topics of interest, including coalition building, asset limits, prepaid cards, curbing predatory lending and more.
Each of these new projects are exciting, both because of the valuable insights and relationships we know our partners will develop, and because of how these new connections and collaborations will build capacity and catalyze the field to even greater levels of scale, innovation and impact. We hope you are as enthusiastic about these opportunities as we are, and we look forward to formally inviting you to participate this fall.
How Food Stamps Keep Families in a Cycle of Poverty
By Mercedes White, Deseret News on 09/09/2013 @ 12:00 PM
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article originally appeared in Salt Lake City's Deseret News and you can read it here.
On a recent Monday evening, 6-year-old Esther lugged a jar of Nutella from the kitchen into the living room where her mother Melissa, nine months pregnant, rested on the sofa in their modest Utah County home. Esther held the jar out to her mother, smiling shyly as she asked for permission to have some. Melissa let out a gentle sigh as she unscrewed the lid. “Not too much,” she said as she handed the jar back to her daughter. In one week she may not be able to give her daughter luxuries like a spoonful of Nutella.
Until recently, Melissa and her husband Jimmy received $400 a month from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, also known as food stamps. Combined with the $21,000 Jimmy earns as a security guard at a local hospital, it was just enough to feed their four (soon to be five) children ages 2 to 10.
Since 2007, the number of Americans on SNAP has exploded, going from approximately 22 million people at the start of the recession in 2008 to more than 45 million in 2013. The program provides these families a much-needed safety net as they struggle to get back on their feet, according to Jennifer Brooks, policy director with the progressive Corporation for Enterprise Development based in Washington, D.C.
Jimmy and Melissa say they would like to get off food stamps altogether and be on their own, but the rules governing eligibility for the program make it hard. In particular, federal policy stipulates that no matter how small the income or how large the family, persons with assets more than $2,000 — which include savings accounts — are not eligible to take part in SNAP.
According to many social policy experts, this rule needs to be changed. “Asset tests impede the process of moving from dependence on government assistance to self-sufficiency,” said Michael Sherraden, professor of social work at Washington University in St. Louis. Savings are an important part of economic development, he said. “In order to develop capacity, families and communities must accumulate assets and invest for long-term goals.”
A safety net of three months worth of living expenses can ensure that low-income families have some cushion when their car breaks down or work hours get cut, said Brooks. “It will be the difference between going right back on government assistance when an unexpected expense comes up and being able to absorb the cost and remain self-sufficient.”
Wrong to save
Melissa and Jimmy didn’t know about the asset limitation when they decided to put a $3,000 tax refund into a savings account. The couple was eager to get off government assistance as soon as possible. “I never thought I would be in a position where we needed this kind of help,” Jimmy said. Putting some money aside for unexpected expenses and towards a down payment on a home seemed like important first steps.
Several months after depositing their refund, the couple received notice that their food-stamp benefits would be cut at the end of July. The couple understands why the rule exists, but they said it came as an unexpected blow. “You don’t want people with no income and $50,000 in savings taking government benefits,” Jimmy said, “but that isn’t what was going on here. They need to look at the totality of the situation.”
Melissa and Jimmy weren’t sure what to do. Without SNAP they’d need to use their nest egg to feed their family, defeating the purpose of saving in the first place. Not only would they lose their savings, their monthly food budget would go from $400 on SNAP to $250. As she looked at the numbers, Melissa wasn't sure if she could feed six people on that. Though the family eats modestly on SNAP, there is room for some fresh fruits and vegetables and the occasional treat. Without SNAP, the only way they could get by is by cutting out fresh produce altogether. Melissa is reluctant to go this route: "I'm worried this kind of diet will jeopardize my kids' health," she said.
The alternative is to spend some of their savings so they can again qualify for SNAP. “It felt like a no-win situation,” Melissa said, “like we were being forced to choose between what is good for our family in the long term and what our kids need right now.” Survival in the short term and financial security in the long term seemed completely at odds.
Melissa and Jimmy's experience is not unique — according to Reid Cramner, a director with the New America Foundation's Asset Building Program — it is how American welfare works. The rules force "families to choose between a small emergency cushion and putting food on the table," he said in a recent statement for the New American Foundation. "We're forcing them to accept long-term poverty in exchange for short-term assistance."
Prior to 1996, federal social assistance programs like food stamps focused on providing long-term income support to poor Americans. “Essentially, people could be on welfare indefinitely,” Brooks said. “In this context (when the goal of the program is to provide income support), an asset test makes sense,” Brooks added, explaining that it reduces the likelihood that individuals with the resources to support themselves will claim government assistance.
However, the “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act,” signed by President Bill Clinton in August of 1996, marked a fundamental shift in the American approach to social welfare programs. “The goal of the welfare reform was to move families off government assistance,” Brooks said. “You couldn’t be on welfare forever anymore.”
But when the federal government made these sweeping changes to welfare, the assets test remained in place. The problem with assets tests, however, is that they are “contrary to the goal of getting people off welfare,” according to Brooks. “If a program has the explicit goal of moving people from dependency to self-sufficiency, people need to have an opportunity to build up a safety net before they transition off government assistance.”
The states’ role in welfare
Welfare is federally funded, but it is up to each state to determine how to administer the programs, including SNAP, Medicaid and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Shortly after welfare reform, some states recognized that assets tests didn’t make sense anymore. Since 1996, 35 states eliminated assets tests for SNAP benefits. Five states (Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Texas, Michigan and Idaho) increased the amount of assets beneficiaries can hold from $2,000 to between $5,000 and $25,000. Ten states (including Utah, Wyoming, Virginia and Alaska) use the federal government’s $2,000 assets threshold.
Moving off dependence on government benefits is difficult everywhere, but the challenges are especially formidable in states with strict assets limits. In many circumstances it means that families, like Jimmy and Melissa, are getting pushed out of the nest before they can fly. "These programs are supposed to help people transition out of poverty," said Martha Wunderli, state director of the Fair Credit Foundation in Utah, a non-profit organization that provides financial services including education, debt management and asset building programs for low-income families. “Building assets is a big part of getting out of poverty ... and it is not fair to remove benefits that help them get out of poverty before they are ready."
Some states are reluctant to change their policies due to fears people will abuse the system. Brooks notes several states reinstituted assets tests after allegations of lotto winners and wealthy elderly retirees receiving benefits were made public by the press.
Brooks recommends that instead of re-instituting assets tests, governments change the rules about what counts as income. “The situation with the lottery winners could have been avoided if state law considered their winnings income, not assets,” Brooks said.
But not everyone agrees. Some conservative lawmakers want to hold all states to the federal assets limit. For example, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) would like to add a condition to the Farm Bill that would force states to adhere to the federal government's assets test. This could result in millions of people losing benefits, Brooks said, adding that supporters of this policy consider it a way to decrease fraud.
Weeks away from delivering her fifth child, Melissa isn't in a position where she can work. Even after the baby comes she's unsure about whether she will be able to work. The couple's eldest daughter has a rare chromosomal abnormality, which requires extensive medical care and behavioral therapies. Someone needs to be there to take her to these appointments and communicate with the doctors and therapists about her progress. She'd love to take on some part-time work from home, but it will be some time before she's in a position to do that.
Jimmy is looking for better-paying jobs, too. He'd like to apply for the police force in their city, but at this point, his fitness level isn't where it needs to be to meet the requirements. He's working on it, but it will be a few months before he can apply for the police force and several more before he would start working — assuming he gets hired.
As they look at the numbers and their current situation, Jimmy and Melissa feel they don't have much of a choice but to spend some of the money they saved so they can again qualify for SNAP benefits. They would prefer the security and potential for leaving welfare that the savings represented, but as Jimmy puts it, ”When you have kids, you have to put the needs of your family before your pride.”
The Affordable Care Act & The Unbanked, Part II
By Lucy Mullany, Guest Contributor on 08/21/2013 @ 10:00 AM
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second blog in a two-part series on the Unbanked and the Uninsured. Special thanks to Lucy Mullany at IABG for sharing on the Assets & Opportunity Network blog.
In our first blog of this series we discussed the unique challenges facing unbanked households when they try to pay for health insurance.
An estimated 36% of currently uninsured households in our state have no checking or savings accounts and are effectively “unbanked.” The problem is that the vast majority of insurance companies require individuals to pay their monthly premiums via automatic withdrawal from a checking account. This means if you don’t have a checking account, you can’t get insurance.
In an effort to address this challenge, the Department of Health and Human Services released proposed rules that would require insurers to accept a menu of payment options, including paper checks, cashier's checks, money orders, and prepaid debit cards.
In response to these proposed rules, IABG submitted a letter in partnership with 78 other organizations engaged with CFED's Assets & Opportunity Network. The letter includes recommendations on how the Department and other state and federal agencies can ensure that a pathway to safe banking opportunities is a part of ACA implementation. The recommendations include:
- Deductions from Paychecks: Automatic withdrawals from payroll help facilitate on-time payment. Similar to retirement savings or social security deductions, payroll deductions for insurance purchased on the exchange will ensure regular on-time payments.
- Ability to Pay in Advance: If open enrollment in states across the country were aligned with tax time, consumers could pay for their premiums via their tax return. The Department of the Treasury should explore mechanisms for streamlining payments through resources consumers receive at tax time. Many Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites work with the unbanked population and can facilitate community outreach for this payment option.
- Use of Navigators: Navigators should be required to provide payment information to each consumer who is purchasing health insurance via the Marketplace. Navigators can be key ambassadors of this information. We recommend creating FAQs on payment options for this formerly uninsured population.
- Website Development: Each state will have either its own website or they will be referring people to the federal website to access the Marketplace. Payment information should be provided on the website and should be sent to consumers via email or traditional mail upon purchasing their insurance. Given that immigrants make up a significant percentage of the unbanked community, this information should be accessible in a variety of languages.
Pathway to Safe Banking
While we support efforts to ensure that the unbanked have access to health insurance through the marketplaces, we also strongly believe that DHS should use this as an opportunity to provide pathways to safe affordable banking. Being banked will facilitate on time payments which will ensure continuity of coverage and access to health care. While the alternative payments proposed by the Department are important to improve access to health care, they are costly and not a long term solution. IABG will continue to work with healthcare advocates to implement changes that will create a pathway to banking.
The Affordable Care Act & The Unbanked, Part I
By Lucy Mullany, Guest Contributor on 08/20/2013 @ 10:00 AM
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first in a two part blog series on the Unbanked and the Uninsured. Many thanks to Lucy Mullany of the Illinois Asset Building Group for permission to share this timely blog series.
When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) goes into effect this October, Illinois residents who don’t have a bank account could find themselves without access to new healthcare opportunities.
Under the Affordable Care Act, 957,440 Illinois residents are expected to qualify for tax subsidies that can be used to purchase insurance through new health care exchanges. However, an estimated 36% of uninsured households in our state have no checking or savings accounts and are effectively “unbanked”. The problem is that the vast majority of insurance companies require individuals to pay their monthly premiums via automatic withdrawal from a checking account. This means if you don’t have a checking account, you can’t get insurance.
As Illinois works to set up health exchanges, the question of how unbanked households will purchase insurance has largely been overlooked. In an effort to address this challenge, the Department of Health and Human Services released proposed rules that would require insurers to accept a menu of payment options, including:
- Paper Checks
- Cashier’s Checks
- Money Orders
- Prepaid debit cards
- Electronic funds transfer from a bank account
- Automatic deduction from a credit or debit card
IABG believes insurance companies should be required to accept alternative payment options in order to ensure that thousands of our residents are not denied health insurance as the ACA is implemented in Illinois. However, we also believe that we need to go further.
One in four Illinois households are either unbanked (with no checking or savings account) or underbanked (they may have a bank account, but still use alternative financial services like check cashers and payday loans). With individuals signing up for health insurance in communities across the state, this is a great opportunity to connect them with programs and services that help families become financially secure. These include community Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs, Bank On initiatives, and financial counseling services.
While existing programs are helping a percentage of households that need their services, with support from government leaders, they can leverage the implementation of the ACA to help even more residents safely connect to the financial mainstream.
IABG is working with other advocacy leaders engaged with CFED's Assets & Opportunity Network to develop recommendations on how the Department of Health & Human Services and other state and federal agencies can insure that a pathway to safe banking opportunities is a part of ACA implementation.
In part 2 of this blog series, we will share these recommendations and ask for your support in moving them forward. If you have feedback please contact Lucy Mullany.
Assets & Opportunity Network Reaches Several Milestones
By Jennifer Brooks on 08/19/2013 @ 03:00 PM
- We developed a Network federal policy agenda. We defended states’ right to eliminate asset tests in federal food assistance programs. We told the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau how to protect consumers and build financial capability.
- Through Network Lead Organizations, we engaged more than 10,000 asset-building advocates; reached millions of readers, viewers and listeners through more than 1,000 media hits; and directly educated hundreds of local, state and federal policymakers.
- We have kept Network Members “in the know” about state policy developments as they happen and about events and activities going on throughout Network. We’ve started a new monthly idea bank for Network Members to use to raise their visibility with the media, policymakers and allies.
- We created a home for the Network’s Learning Community, which features a resource library, events calendar, and opportunities to suggest and participate in learning groups. An impromptu learning group of Network Lead Organizations began in June to explore implications of the Affordable Care Act on the unbanked. Another learning group on coalition-building is underway. Have an idea for a learning group? Please share it!
What’s on deck for the Network in the next year?
The Network Steering Committee met in June to identify 10 goals for the next 18 months. Among them is hosting a 2013 Network Leadership Convening, December 3-4 in Washington, DC. The event will give Lead State and Lead Local Organizations the opportunity to shape Network priorities for the next year; learn from peers and experts about the most pressing issues and innovative asset building approaches; and educate federal policymakers about the impact that asset-building strategies can have on the lives of struggling Americans. Network Lead Organizations: save the date!
Are you from a state or local area that doesn’t yet have a Lead State or Lead Local Organization, consider stepping up to be the Network local convener in your geography. The Request for Letters of Interest is due September 6, 2013.
We’d love your feedback on how the Network is doing and ideas for how we can do even more to build an assets movement.
CFPB Hears a One-Sided Story, Advocates Need to Speak Up
By Jose Quinonez on 05/30/2013 @ 09:00 AM
Last month, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Consumer Advisory Board (CAB) held a public meeting in Los Angeles. The meeting was both to unveil CFPB en Español, a new website in Spanish dedicated to helping new Americans better navigate the financial marketplace, and to hear from the community about a wide range of issues that impact immigrants’ ability to engage in the marketplace. The first part of the community conversation was a structured discussion with community representatives to learn about the barriers and struggles immigrants face in the financial marketplace. The second part of the community conversation was open to the public. After the community discussion concluded, audience members were invited to make comments.
Wearing my hat as the chair of the CAB, I can say that I was genuinely hoping to hear about the experience of real people who find themselves in the need of short-term credit. I was admittedly disappointed that those who spoke out were overwhelmingly industry employees or individuals who had been prepped with the industry’s party-line.
Wearing my hat as the Executive Director of the Mission Asset Fund, which is a community organization that serves financially-excluded, mostly immigrant communities and is a Lead Local Organization in the Assets & Opportunity Network, I was glad to hear from Andrew Chang from CABO, which is the Assets & Opportunity Network Lead Local Organization in Los Angeles. He argued that high-cost, small-dollar loans are a serious concern for families who get trapped in a cycle of debt and who spend hundreds of dollars to repay loans that they could be using for day-to-day needs or to save for the future. He urged the CFPB to use its authority to protect consumers from unfair, deceptive and abusive practices and recommended five specific policies the CFPB should adopt.
As chair of the CAB, which is the community voice into CFPB, I am committed to listening to the voices and experiences of all stakeholders in the consumer financial marketplace and using that experience to shape policy options. As a leader in the Assets & Opportunity Network, I am committed to fighting for access to credit on fair terms and I encourage you to do the same.
Here are two things you can do:
- Share what works. We recognize that a critical part of reforming the predatory short-term consumer loan industry is ensuring that there are affordable alternatives for borrowers. What strategies have you seen work? How could those strategies be delivered at scale?
- Raise your voice not once, but every time there is an opportunity for public comment. You have the ear of the federal government. It’s time to say something!
Remember that the industry is well-funded and ready to show up at each and every event with their buttons and stickers, pushing forward individuals who have been talked into believing that payday lenders are the answer. If advocates for the financially-excluded want to be heard, we must show our collective strength.
Hawaii Becomes the Seventh State to Eliminate TANF Asset Test
By Ethan Geiling on 04/26/2013 @ 10:00 AM
Last week, Hawai`i Governor Abercrombie signed HB 868 into law, eliminating the asset test in the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, making Hawai`i the seventh state to do so.
This victory was not easily won. It took years of hard work by assets advocates, service providers, researchers, and policymakers across the state. The idea of lifting asset limits came from a 2008 Hawai`i Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development (HACBED) report, co-authored by CFED, which laid out a policy roadmap for helping families build economic security. The report argued that asset limits are counterproductive and force Hawai`i’s most vulnerable families to sacrifice longer-term savings in exchange for short-term assistance from public benefit programs.
Soon after the policy roadmap was released, policymakers created a state task force to explore strategies to help Hawai`i families climb the economic ladder. The task force, which was staffed by HACBED, took on three issues: asset limits, financial education and children’s savings accounts. The final recommendations from the task force spurred state policymakers to take action. Advocates worked with policymakers to introduce asset limit bills in 2011 and 2012. Although these bills didn’t pass immediately, they helped policymakers further understand the issues with asset limits. Ultimately, the legislature asked the State Department of Human Services to conduct a study examining the potential impact of eliminating the TANF asset test. The study recommended eliminating the asset test, which provided the final push the legislature needed to take the 2013 legislation across the finish line.
Organizations that submitted testimony in support of the legislation, included:
- Patricia McManaman, Director, Department of Human Services
- Auli’i George, Office of Hawaiian Affairs
- Mila Kaahanui, Executive Director, Office of Community Services
- Brent Kakesako, Hawai'i Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development
- Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women
- Jeanne Y. Ohta, Co-Chair, Women’s Caucus Democratic Party of Hawaii
- Teresa Bill, Univ. Hawai’i Bridge to Hope Coordinator
- Laurie A. Temple, American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii
- Trisha Kajimura, Social Policy Director, Catholic Charities Hawaii
- Laura Smith and Scott Fuji, Goodwill Industries of Hawaii, Inc
- Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice
- Nalani Fujimori Kaina, Legal Aid Society of Hawaii
- Ann Freed, Hawaii Women’s Coalition
- Betty Sestak, AAUW-Windward
- Robert Scott Wall, Community Alliance for Mental Health
Hawaii is the seventh state to eliminate the asset test in TANF. The other six states to eliminate the test are Colorado (2011), Maryland (2010), Alabama (2009), Louisiana (2009), Virginia (2003), Ohio (1997). Click here to learn more about asset limits in public benefit programs.
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CFPB Releases New Payday Research
Yesterday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a new white paper examining payday and deposit advance loans. The paper found that most borrowers are not using payday loans for short-term needs (as the payday industry often claims), but instead are repeatedly rolling over loans and taking out additional loans. As a result, borrowers often become stuck in an expensive and financially disastrous cycle of debt. The CFPB found that nearly half of payday borrowers have more than 10 loans a year, while 14 percent undertook 20 or more transactions annually.
This study is more comprehensive than almost any other study ever conducted, since the CFPB was able to acquire data on millions of borrowers directly from banks and small dollar lenders.
In a press release, CFPB Directory Richard Cordray explained: “This comprehensive study shows that payday and deposit advance loans put many consumers at risk of turning what is supposed to be a short-term, emergency loan into a long-term, expensive debt burden. For too many consumers, payday and deposit advance loans are debt traps that cause them to be living their lives off money borrowed at huge interest rates.”
The paper indicates that the Bureau is very concerned with current industry practices. The Bureau plans to conduct additional research and analysis, looking at online payday lending, the effectiveness of state restrictions on payday lending, and consumers’ motivations for borrowing. The report concludes that consumers need additional protections in this market and that the Bureau intends to use its authority to implement new protections once its research is complete. Even though, by law, the CFPB cannot set rate interest rate caps (the gold standard policy), there is much the Bureau still can do to protect consumers.
The Bureau’s interest in investigating payday borrowers’ experiences provides an important opportunity for asset builders to bring attention to the financial instability that results when predatory loans lead consumers into cycles of debt. This opportunity comes as asset-building advocates have worked for years to implement better consumer protections at the state and local levels. In fact, Twenty-five states currently have pending legislation addressing predatory small dollar lending. And the Assets & Opportunity Network recently released a 2013 Network Federal Policy Agenda, outlining the key policy issues that are most important to Network members. The number one issue on the agenda is educating the CFPB on predatory small dollar lending and other consumer issues. A few weeks ago, Network members weighed in with their recommendations on how the CFPB could curb predatory lending, which will become the basis for a statement and comments to the CFPB in the coming weeks.
Click here to read the full CFPB paper. Other key findings from the report are below.
Key Findings: Payday and Deposit Advance Loans Can Become Debt Traps for Consumers
The report found many consumers repeatedly roll over their payday and deposit advance loans or take out additional loans; often a short time after the previous one was repaid. This means that a sizable share of consumers end up in cycles of repeated borrowing and incur significant costs over time. The study also confirmed that these loans are quite expensive and not suitable for sustained use. Specifically, the study found limited underwriting and the single payment structure of the loans may contribute to trapping consumers in debt.
Loose Lending: Lenders often do not take a borrower’s ability to repay into consideration when making a loan. Instead, they may rely on ensuring they are one of the first in line to be repaid from a borrower’s income. For the consumer, this means there may not be sufficient funds after paying off the loan for expenses such as for their rent or groceries – leading them to return to the bank or payday lender for more money.
- Payday: Eligibility to qualify for a payday loan usually requires proper identification, proof of income, and a personal checking account. No collateral is held for the loan, although the borrower does provide the lender with a personal check or authorization to debit her checking account for repayment. Credit score and financial obligations are generally not taken in to account.
- Deposit Advance: Depository institutions have various eligibility rules for their customers, who generally already have checking accounts with them. The borrower authorizes the bank to claim repayment as soon as the next qualifying electronic deposit is received. Typically, though, a customer’s ability to repay the loan outside of other debts and ordinary living expenses is not taken into account.
Risky Loan Structures: The risk posed by the loose underwriting is compounded by some of the features of payday and deposit advance loans, particularly the rapid repayment structure. Paying back a lump sum when a consumer’s next paycheck or other deposit arrives can be difficult for an already cash-strapped consumer, leading them to take out another loan.
- Payday: Payday loans typically must be repaid in full when the borrower’s next paycheck or other income is due. The report finds the median loan term to be just 14 days.
- Deposit Advance: There is not a fixed due date with a deposit advance. Instead, the bank will repay itself from the next qualifying electronic deposit into the borrower’s account. The report finds that deposit advance “episodes,” which may include multiple advances, have a median duration of 12 days.
High Costs: Both payday loans and deposit advances are designed for short-term use and can have very high costs. These high costs can add up – on top of the already existing loans that a consumer is taking on.
- Payday: Fees for storefront payday loans generally range from $10-$20 per $100 borrowed. For the typical loan of $350, for example, the median $15 fee per $100 would mean that the borrower must come up with more than $400 in just two weeks. A loan outstanding for two weeks with a $15 fee per $100 has an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of 391 percent.
- Deposit Advance: Fees generally are about $10 per $100 borrowed. For a deposit advance with a $10 fee per $100 borrowed on a 12-day loan, for example, the APR would be 304 percent.
Sustained Use: The loose underwriting, the rapid repayment requirement, and the high costs all may contribute to turning a short-term loan into a very expensive, long-term loan. For consumers, it is unclear whether they fully appreciate the risk that they may end up using these products much longer than the original term. Or, that they may end up paying fees that equal or exceed the amount they borrowed, leading them into a revolving door of debt.
- Payday: For payday borrowers, nearly half have more than 10 transactions a year, while 14 percent undertook 20 or more transactions annually. Payday borrowers are indebted a median of 55 percent (or 199 days) of the year. For the majority of payday borrowers, new loans are most frequently taken on the same day a previous loan is closed, or shortly thereafter.
- Deposit Advance: More than half of all users borrow more than $3,000 per year while 14 percent borrow more than $9,000 per year. These borrowers typically have an outstanding balance at least 9 months of the year and typically are indebted more than 40 percent of the year. And while these products are sometimes described as a way to avoid the high cost of overdraft fees, 65 percent of deposit advance users incur such fees. The heaviest deposit advance borrowers accrue the most overdraft fees.
Five Lessons for Piloting Integrated Service Delivery
By Kori Hattemer on 04/18/2013 @ 12:00 PM
Integrated service delivery is a promising model for creating pathways to financial security. FEGS Health & Human Services in New York City and Solid Ground in Seattle are two of the innovative organizations exploring strategies for integrating financial empowerment services into their existing social service delivery. These organizations have launched pilots to test their integration plans, which have produced key takeaways for other organizations interested in this type of work.
FEGS has integrated a conversation about savings and referral to the NYC OFE Financial Empowerment Centers and SafeStart Account into the post-employment retention counseling their clients receive after they are placed in new jobs. Solid Ground, a Community Action Agency, is training their housing case managers to provide financial coaching to clients. Below are five findings from the pilot experiences of FEGS and Solid Ground.
- Get staff buy-in early, as it is critical to the success and expansion of integration pilot projects. Solid Ground used a small pilot to create support for financial coaching among their staff, from leadership to frontline case managers. They also organized a lunchtime learning opportunity for staff and drafted a one-pager to introduce the new project to staff members. FEGS also sought support and input from frontline staff and program managers, taking their challenges and concerns into consideration as they made adjustments to the pilot project.
- Define desired outcomes early in the process, and identify and track evaluation metrics to help measure progress. Taking time at the outset to ask and answer the question, “What will success look like?” is essential to understanding whether and how an intervention is making a difference, and what indicators should be tracked in order to make that determination. Measuring outcomes during the pilot phase provides important evidence and insight that will be key to expanding integration efforts in the future. Concrete outcome measurements also will help create support for the program to internal and external stakeholders.
- Make the connection between financial empowerment outcomes and programmatic outcomes. Financial empowerment metrics might include measures such as amount of money saved, improved credit scores, reduced debt and improved budgeting techniques, just to name a few—and all of these can be linked to social service outcomes. For example, clients in FEGS’ post-employment counseling program may struggle to retain a job if the car they use to get to work breaks down and they do not have an emergency fund to pay for repairs. Addressing this financial barrier can actually improve FEGS’ programmatic outcomes (e.g., the number of employees who are able to retain new jobs for at least six months).
- Provide financial coaching to staff. Staff members are more likely to deliver financial empowerment services and refer clients to other resources if they have a deeper understanding of the services that are available. In addition, frontline social service agency staff members—who themselves may be struggling to make ends meet—sometimes feel uncomfortable talking with clients about budgeting and money if they do not feel confident managing their own finances.
- Equip staff appropriately to deliver the pilot program. Staff members need tools (e.g., scripts, worksheets and tip sheets) and training when delivering a new program of this nature. Both Solid Ground and FEGS asked frontline staff members what tools and information they would need to deliver the pilot and found that staff had a wide range of needs, which tended to vary according to staff experience and expectations.
See this recently published brief for more information about these organizations’ innovative integration work and the lessons they have learned so far.
These organizations participated in an Intensive Learning Cluster convened by CFED and supported by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. Click here for more information about this Intensive Learning Cluster.
New Trend Data: Create Your Own Custom Graphs and Reports
By Lebaron Sims on 04/10/2013 @ 12:30 PM
Among the more exciting innovations of this year’s Assets & Opportunity Scorecard release is the new Custom Reports and Graphics center, which lets visitors create and download their own handouts and comparative charts using the Scorecard’s 69 outcome and 33 policy measures. Don’t know where to start? Here’s a brief description of what you’ll find:
State Profile Report: The classic report you might be familiar with from previous Scorecards has been given an update. New graphics on the first page highlight your state’s asset poverty rate and six additional outcomes of your choosing, while the rest of the report details your state’s performance on all 69 outcome and 33 policy measures. It’s the full Scorecard experience, in an easy-to-use four-pager.
State Policy Profile: How does your state perform on the Scorecard’s 12 policy priority measures? Find out with this simple one-pager that breaks down what policies your state has passed, and where there’s room for improvement. Helpful graphics make it easy to find state strengths and weaknesses, while the customizable menu lets you to choose whichever policy priorities you’d like to highlight, allowing for anything from a general “State of the State” report to a targeted “Education Policy” profile.
Custom Data Report: Wonder how your state compares to others in specific Scorecard outcome measures? Head to the Custom Data Report, where you’ll be able to create a one-pager listing your state’s national rank and performance alongside four others (and the United States) for up to seven outcome measures. The one-pager includes bar graphs that visualize the between-state difference, while the brief outcome definitions help advocates better make the case for their policy or research proposals.
Custom Data Charts: Want to compare states across one particular outcome measure, but need a presentation graphic, not a report? Check out the State Comparison Data Chart, which lets you compare your state to four others (and the United States) in any of the 69 Scorecard outcome measures. Or, if you want to see how your state compares nationally, try the National Comparison Data Chart, which shows your state’s performance in relation to all 51 states and the national average. Paste either of the files into your reports and presentations, or onto your website, to help make the case for your state’s asset-building policies.
Asset Poverty Snapshot: Need to talk asset poverty in your state, but don’t have a graphic to back you up? The Asset Poverty Snapshot tool lets you quickly and easily download a graphic comparing your state’s income poverty, asset poverty, and liquid asset poverty rates. This tool also creates an embeddable graphic, for use in any media.
While we introduced each of the above as part of the 2013 Scorecard release, as of this past week, advocates have a new tool in their arsenal:
Trend Data Charts: Track your state’s movement over time in all sixteen Scorecard outcome trend measures, from foreclosure to uninsured rate, asset poverty to microenterprise ownership. Select any available measure, then compare your state’s performance with up to three others (and the United States). Just like with the other custom graphics, you can embed your Trend Data Chart into any report, presentation tool, or website.
With these new reporting instruments, telling a story with the Scorecard has never been easier. Head to the Custom Reports and Graphics hub now, and create visuals for your next presentation or report. (Or, you know, just for fun. We don’t judge.)
Video: How Your Voice Shaped the #CFEDscorecard Conversation
By Veronica Weis on 04/04/2013 @ 11:00 AM
The release of the 2013 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard received unprecedented mainstream media coverage and visibility online. We truly could not have done it without the support of our partners, funders and most importantly, you. You helped start the conversation about how financial security in America is in danger. Check out the video below to see all of our shared successes during the release and don't forget to continue the conversation with us by commenting and sharing. Thank YOU!
State Policymaker Champions Asset Agenda
By Nancy Brown, Guest Contributor and Jennifer Brooks on 03/15/2013 @ 10:00 AM
Nevada has the dubious distinction of ranking dead last overall in the 2013 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard. Both in terms of how families are faring and the strength of our policies, we have a long way to go.
To our advantage, however, we have a policymaker who is using her perch as state treasurer to take on the tough issues that stand in the way of financial security and opportunity. Nevada Treasurer Kate Marshall gave a keynote address at the Assets & Opportunity Summit, which the Financial Stability Partnership of Northern Nevada hosted on February 28 in Sparks, NV. In those remarks, the Treasurer spoke both of our victories and what else must be done.
- Building on the Silver State Matching Grant Program, which since 2010 has provided matching grant dollars to deposits made by qualifying Nevada families in a 529 account, Treasurer Marshall announced a new initiative to open college savings accounts for every kindergartener in 13 of Nevada’s rural counties. The initiative will serve between 2,500 and 2,800 kindergarteners.
- The Treasurer recognizes that as important as having money in the bank is, equally important is having the skills to effectively manage your finances and navigate an increasingly complex financial market. That’s why she advocated for legislation, which the governor signed, that requires personal finance be taught to all high school students.
- Treasurer Marshall also wants to do more to ensure that lenders can’t take advantage of consumers by charging sky-high interest rates to consumers. She wants to replicate Pennsylvania’s Better Choice program, which is a partnership between that Pennsylvania Treasurer and the credit union association to provide lower-cost alternatives to predatory payday loans.
- She is also passionate about removing the harmful savings cap in Nevada’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF). The Treasurer reached out to Governor Sandoval last fall and requested that he eliminate the TANF asset test. The response was an incremental step forward: the state will exclude college savings from counting against the limit and the human services department is committed to working toward removal of the savings cap.
In a state like Nevada—which even before the recession—has been plagued by periods of boom and bust, Treasurer Marshall’s leadership is a critical arrow in our quiver to make sure Nevada’s policies support family economic security and families’ ability to save for the future.
2013 Action to Eliminate Asset Limits
By Ethan Geiling on 03/12/2013 @ 04:30 PM
Many public benefit programs— like cash welfare, Medicaid and food assistance—limit eligibility to those with few or no assets. Yet, these asset limits force low-income families to “spend down” personal reserves in order to get any government help. These reserves are precisely the kind of personal safety net that can keep families from falling deeper into poverty and help them move to financial security and opportunity.
Inconsistencies in the treatment of assets also mean confusion and a patchwork of complex rules with no overarching logic. And most importantly, asset tests send a signal that the poor should not save.
Many advocates across the country are pushing policymakers to take action on asset limits. In 2013, we’ve already seen significant (and almost all positive!) movement in ten states:
- Hawaii: Advocates in Hawaii have been pushing asset limit reform for many years with mixed success. However, last year, Hawaii enacted legislation requiring the Department of Human Services to study the impact of eliminating asset tests (read the report). This year, the Hawaii legislature introduced SB 1099 and HB 868 to eliminate asset limits in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The current TANF asset limit is $5,000.
- Nevada: The Department of Health and Human Services, at the urging of the State Treasurer Kate Marshall, recently announced that it will exclude 529s from the TANF asset test. The Department has also committed to re-evaluating the state’s asset limit policies, and may ultimately decide to completely eliminate the TANF asset test in the coming months.
- Massachusetts: The Midas Collaborative is working with State Senator Jamie Eldridge and Representative Linda Dorcena Forry to pass legislation that would increase the TANF asset limit (read a blog post).
- Nebraska: Voices for Children Nebraska is pushing legislation that would align asset limits in the TANF and child care subsidy programs with the SNAP asset limit, which was raised to $25,000 in liquid resources in 2011 (see a presentation about Nebraska asset limit reform from the 2012 Assets Learning Conference).
- Illinois: The Illinois Asset Building Group has helped introduce two bills (SB2319 / HB2262) that would remove the asset test in TANF. See these fact sheets for more information.
- Minnesota: Last year the Minnesota legislature required its Department of Human Services to study the impact of eliminating asset tests (read the report). The report concludes that if the state truly wants to support “greater stability and longer-term self-sufficiency …, current asset limit requirements [should] be eliminated completely…”
- California: Advocates in California are advancing legislation to exclude vehicles from the TANF asset test.
- Oregon: Oregon has introduced a bill to exclude modest retirement savings for IDA Initiative participants (check out Neighborhood Partnership’s summary here).
- Arkansas: Southern Bancorp Community Partners just released a new policy report examining state asset limits. Advocates plan to aggressively pursue asset limit eliminating this session.
- Oklahoma: Oklahoma is the only state where we’ve seen negative action so far. A bill is moving through the legislature (HB2017) that would reinstate the SNAP asset test at $5,000.
Since 1996, there has been a huge push to tackle this issue. Twenty-four states have eliminated Medicaid asset limits entirely, and all remaining states will be required to eliminate the Medicaid asset test by 2014 as part of the health care overhaul. Six states have eliminated TANF asset limits and 36 states have eliminated SNAP asset limits.
Two states have substantially increased the asset limits in their Medicaid or TANF programs, and 36 states have excluded important categories of assets from these limits in one or both programs.
Check out our Scorecard Resource Guide for more information about what states have done, research showing the effects of asset limit elimination, and case studies from states that have successfully eliminated their asset tests.
Nevada Announces Groundbreaking New Children’s Savings Initiative
Last week, Nevada State Treasurer Kate Marshall announced a new initiative to open a college savings account for every incoming kindergartener in 13 of Nevada’s rural counties. The initiative will serve between 2,500 and 2,800 kindergarteners. Treasurer Marshall made the announcement at the Financial Stability Partnership of Northern Nevada’s statewide Assets & Opportunity Summit, held on February 28 in Sparks, Nevada.
The savings accounts will be seeded with a $50 initial deposit that can be used to pay for postsecondary education expenses at any U.S. Dept. of Education approved educational institution. Funding for the $50 deposits will come from program manager fees; no state taxpayer dollars will be used. An omnibus account will be administered by Upromise, the Nevada College Plans Programs program manager. This groundbreaking initiative builds on a previous innovative education program introduced by Treasurer Marshall. In 2010, the state of Nevada created the Silver State Matching Grant Program, which provides matching grant dollars to deposits made by qualifying Nevada families in a 529 account.
The Nevada initiative is part of a growing national movement to help low-income children save for college and learn how to manage their finances. The City and County of San Francisco paved the way for large-scale children’s savings programs when it launched the Kindergarten to College program in 2010, providing a $50 deposit to public school kindergarteners. In late 2012, Cuyahoga County in Ohio announced a similar initiative to open a college savings account for every incoming kindergartener in the county. Similar pilot programs are underway in Mississippi and Colorado.
Replication of these programs demonstrates the growing recognition by local and state governments that even a small amount of savings can have a dramatic impact on long-term expectations, particularly for low-income children who may otherwise grow up believing college is out of reach. Research shows that students with a college savings account are seven times more likely to attend college, regardless of how much money is in the account. This research reinforces what CFED has often said about savings accounts: they are hope in concrete form.
"One Misstep Away from Financial Disaster"
By Hannah Emple on 02/07/2013 @ 09:00 AM
EDITOR'S NOTE: This post originally appeared on The Ladder and can be read here.
Today is a big day for the asset building community. Our friends at CFED have released their newly updated 2013 Assets and Opportunity Scorecard which evaluates household financial security across the U.S. and grades states on how well or poorly they support asset development and promote opportunity.
As has been true in recent years, the key finding is that huge swaths of the population are living in a precarious state of "asset poverty." As our Justin King told the Huffington Post: “These are households and individuals that are living paycheck-to-paycheck. And without savings, you’re one misstep away from financial disaster.” As Jillian Berman for HuffPo explains, people are "coping with stagnating wages and rising prices. This group is also navigating a banking system that subsidizes wealth-building programs -- like homeownership and retirement accounts -- that are geared towards the wealthy but don't offer the same boost to poor and middle-class savers." That gap exacerbates disparities in financial security over time - people with assets are able to leverage what they already have to support long term goals, while the rest are left scrambling to meet basic needs, unable to effectively plan and save for the future.
NPR also produced a strong piece using the Scorecard as a launching point, click here to read or listen, then navigate over to the Scorecard to explore the data yourself. CFED is also hosting a webinar today at 1pm to introduce the Scorecard findings. Use the scorecard to get information about how people in your state are faring and be sure to check out the action on Twitter with the hashtag #CFEDScorecard.
Recording of 2013 Scorecard Release Webinar
By Ethan Geiling on 01/31/2013 @ 09:00 AM
Yesterday, CFED released the 2013 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard, revealing that despite strong signs of economic recovery, millions of Americans are still living on the brink of financial disaster. The percentage of households in liquid asset poverty edged slightly upwards this year to 43.9%.
During the national release webinar, experts from CFED and the Assets & Opportunity Network discussed the state of financial security and opportunity in America.
Andrea Levere, president of CFED, introduced the webinar by explaining how the Scorecard has helped to to broaden the perspective of policymakers and opinion leaders to focus on helping people improve their long-term chances of economic mobility through savings and building assets in ways that complement essential safety-net programs.
Jennifer Brooks, Director of State & Local Policy at CFED, discussed the main findings from the Scorecard. For the second year in a row, nearly half (44%) of households—equivalent to 132.1 million people—lack the savings to cover basic expenses for three months if unemployment, a medical emergency or other crisis leads to a loss of stable income.
Kasey Wiedrich, Senior Applied Research Program Manager at CFED, presented key data measures in the Scorecard, including liquid asset poverty, employers offering health insurance, affordability of homes, and student loan default rate.
Jennifer Brooks talked about strength of state policies across the country and variation in the extent to which states have adopted these policies. New York has the strongest policies, while Mississippi has the weakest.
Stephanie Bowman, Executive Director of the Washington Asset Building Coalition, discussed her Coalition’s efforts to build a constituency to influence state policy.
David Rothstein, a member of the Assets & Opportunity Network Steering Committee, also weighed in, explaining how the Network is building a constituency to support financial security and opportunity policies.
Finally, Jeremie Greer, Director of Government Affairs at CFED, gave a sense of the climate in Washington and what’s on the “to do” list for Congress and the Administration this year.
Join the #CFEDscorecard Conversation
By Veronica Weis on 01/29/2013 @ 10:30 AM
Tomorrow is the release of the 2013 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard and we couldn't be more excited! The updated Scorecard website will go live at midnight tonight with the latest data, reports and more. For those interested in a live summary of the findings from our CFED experts, it's not too late to register for the release webinar from 1:00-2:00 PM EST. Still want to follow the conversation but can't join us for the webinar? We'll be live tweeting all day, blogging the highlights and updating our Storify page.
Follow us on Twitter
Our organization's account, @CFEDNews, will be busy updating the Twitterverse with news of the Scorecard release. From 1:00-2:00 PM EST, we'll be live tweeting the webinar. If you have a question or comment to contribute, please send us a tweet and include the hashtags #CFEDscorecard and #assetpoverty.
Like us on Facebook
You can also follow along on our Facebook page. We plan to post graphics and other surprises. If you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to post on our wall or send in a direct message.
Read our blog
The Inclusive Economy will also feature highlights from the report tomorrow so be sure to drop by here for more Scorecard news.
Discover our Storify
This year, we've created a Scorecard release Storify page to compile the best of social media. It's already up and running to capture buzz before the release tomorrow. Be sure to check it out and let us know what you think!
Next Week: National Release of the 2013 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard
By Sean Luechtefeld on 01/23/2013 @ 10:00 AM
Wednesday, January 30 - 1 pm EST / Noon CST / 11 am MST / 10 am PST
Register today for the webinar release of the 2013 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard to find out how your state fares in helping its residents achieve financial security. The 2013 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard is a comprehensive look at how Americans are faring in terms of financial security and opportunity.
Key highlights from this year's Scorecard release include:
- State-by-state trends in asset poverty.
- Data on 69 outcome measures across five issue areas, including Financial Assets & Income, Businesses & Jobs, Housing & Homeownership, Health Care and Education.
- Data on more than 30 policy measures that states can adopt to help families succeed.
- Responses by the Assets & Opportunity Network on their work to improve outcomes for families.
Speakers on the release webinar include:
- Andrea Levere, President, CFED
- Jennifer Brooks, Director, State & Local Policy, CFED
- Kasey Wiedrich, Senior Program Manager, Applied Research, CFED
The Assets & Opportunity Scorecard is an important resource that advocates can use to help frame their 2013 agendas. Participation in the release webinar is free, but advanced registration is required. Click here to sign up.
Other Upcoming Events
- EITC Briefing on Capitol Hill (hosted by the National Community Tax Coalition)
Tomorrow, January 24 | 10 - 11 am EST
385 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC
- Finding 'Ready Savers': Innovative Recruitment Strategies to Increase Program Completion
Friday, January 25 | 3:30 - 4:30 pm EST
The Assets & Opportunity Network Welcomes 13 New Lead Organizations
By Jennifer Medina on 01/02/2013 @ 09:30 AM
The Assets & Opportunity Network is excited to announce that 13 new Lead State, Local, and Tribal Organizations will be joining the A&O Network. With these new additions, a total of 35 states and 39 local areas (including two Lead Tribal Organizations) are now represented by Lead Organizations.
The Lead Organizations bring a wealth of knowledge and experiences to the A&O Leadership. Among them, there are organizations that have advocated for payday lending legislation in their states, built broad-based coalitions to promote financial security and self-sufficiency, and administered Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites and IDA projects to help low-income families maximize their earnings. The new Lead Organizations include coalitions, community action associations, policy think tanks, consumer credit counseling agencies, and other nonprofit institutions. We were impressed with the accomplishments and experience of these new organizations and are confident they will be a strong addition to our growing network.
New Lead State Organizations:
- Maine - PENQUIS
- Nevada - Financial Guidance Center
- Rhode Island - Economic Progress Institute
- Colorado - Colorado Community Action Association
New Lead Local Organizations:
- Lansing, MI - Asset Independence Coalition
- New York City, NY - The Financial Clinic
- Hamilton, OH - Supports to Encourage Low-Income Families (SELF)
- Portland, OR - Innovative Changes
- Charlotte, NC - Crisis Assistance Ministry
- Las Cruces, NM - Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico
- Montgomery County, PA - Montgomery County Asset Building Coalition
- Montgomery County, MD – Coalition for the Advancement of Financial Education (CAFE)
New Lead Tribal Organization:
- Oklahoma Tribal - Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition
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