Key Takeaway

Despite deep financial challenges, FEC clients succeeded. They reduced debt by $22.5 million, increased savings by $2.7 million, established or increased credit, and opened safe banking accounts.

This report is a three-year evaluation of the Financial Empowerment Center initiative’s replication in 5 cities (Denver, CO; Lansing, MI; Nashville, TN; Philadelphia, PA and San Antonio, TX). Financial Empowerment Centers (FECs) offer professional, one-on-one financial counseling as a free public service. The evaluation draws on data from 22,000 clients who participated in 57,000 counseling sessions across these first 5 city replication partners, and provides additional evidence of the program’s success. For an executive summary of the report, click here.

The CFE Fund is holding a series of webinars about the evaluation; register now. Local government leaders can apply now to bring the FEC model to their residents through a new CFE Fund grant opportunity, which will provide selected localities up to $20,000 and significant technical assistance for 6-12 months to design and prepare for the launch of a FEC.

Additional Takeaways

FEC clients were much more likely than average US residents to have no savings, yet almost a third of clients working to increase their savings succeeded, averaging $1,634.

Despite working with a financial counselor, unbanked FEC clients were less than half as likely as similar banked clients to increase their savings, and over a third less likely to establish a new credit score.

The FEC model worked in a variety of city contexts, and meaningfully changed the way cities and their nonprofit partners delivered anti-poverty services.

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