CFE Coalition 2016 Policy Agenda: Policy Priorities and Recommended Agenda Items

The 15-member CFE Coalition has weighed in on key federal policy issues since its founding in 2008.

In 2016, the CFE Coalition released its 2016 Policy Agenda, outlining the legislative and regulatory reforms it seeks to advance. Key policy areas of interest include expanding access to financial products and services; improving financial capability; promoting asset building opportunities; and strengthening and expanding consumer financial protections. Specifically, the agenda supports newly-released Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed payday loan regulations, expanded access to financial counseling and safe banking products, and a reduction in municipal fees and fines.

Summer Jobs Connect: Building Sustainable Banking and Savings Programs in Summer Youth Employment

The Summer Jobs Connect (SJC) initiative, generously supported by Citi Foundation, leverages the scale and infrastructure of Summer Youth Employment Programs (SYEPs) to offer banking access and other financial empowerment opportunities, helping to transform a summer job into an on-ramp to the financial mainstream.

This three-report compendium details city partners’ strategies to provide banking access and targeted financial education through SYEPs, and how they are sustainably and systemically integrating these efforts. These reports highlight three distinct strategies that partner cities used to refine and improve their programs during the second programmatic year. Brief One focuses on direct deposit and financial education efforts; Brief Two describes the use of incentives in SJC programs; and Brief Three details structural changes for sustainability.

SaveUSA Video

Piloted at select free tax preparation sites in four cities, SaveUSA is a simple tax time matched savings program — tax filers who deposited part of their refund into a designated account, and maintained the deposit for a year, received a 50% savings match up to $500.

This video explains the SaveUSA program model, highlights best practices for replication, and includes key program results from a rigorous randomized control trial.

Tax Time: The Right Moment for Savings

Piloted at select free tax preparation sites in four cities, SaveUSA is a simple tax time matched savings program — tax filers who deposited part of their refund into a designated account, and maintained the deposit for a year, received a 50% savings match up to $500.

This infographic illustrates key findings from a rigorous randomized control trial of SaveUSA—and shows that SaveUSA works.

The SaveUSA Playbook: A Tax Time Approach to Short-Term Savings

Piloted at select free tax preparation sites in four cities, SaveUSA is a simple tax time matched savings program — tax filers who deposited part of their refund into a designated account, and maintained the deposit for a year, received a 50% savings match up to $500.

SaveUSA was designed to test if the tax time moment, when tax filers with low incomes often receive a significant refund, could be used to encourage filers to save for the short-term as a realistic first step towards longer-term financial stability. New evaluation results, from a rigorous randomized control trial, provide strong evidence that low-income families can save for the short-term, and the tax time moment can be leveraged to help them do so.

This Playbook was designed for communities interested in replicating SaveUSA, and includes information on designing the program, including key program elements, as well as talking points to develop SaveUSA champions. The SaveUSA program was supported by the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, and created in partnership with the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs Office of Financial Empowerment.

Account Screening Consumer Reporting Agencies: A Banking Access Perspective

The CFE Fund and the National Consumer Law Center co-wrote this report, outlining the tremendous and deeply flawed role that account screening consumer reporting agencies (“CRAs”) play in determining whether consumers can obtain a bank or credit union account. The report raises concerns about these companies and financial institutions’ use of their reports, and offers solutions both for industry leaders and regulators.

Next Generation Municipal Financial Empowerment Award Given to Five U.S. Mayors: Award Recognizes, Supports Emerging Municipal Financial Empowerment Leaders

The CFE Fund’s Next Generation Municipal Financial Empowerment Award grows the municipal financial empowerment field by cultivating and supporting innovative ideas from new mayoral administrations. This May 2015 press release announces the five city leaders chosen through a competitive RFP process to receive this award: Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, New Haven Mayor Toni N. Harp, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, San José Mayor Sam Liccardo, and Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler.

The award, generously sponsored by Capital One, includes both a planning grant and dedicated technical consulting from the CFE Fund. Together, awardee mayors, their teams, and the CFE Fund will develop innovative local government strategies to address poverty through programs such as financial counseling, access to safe and appropriate banking products, asset-building opportunities, and consumer financial protections.

CFE Coalition Comment Letter on the FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households

The 15-member CFE Coalition has weighed in on key federal policy issues since its founding in 2008.

In this 2015 letter, the Coalition affirms that the information collected through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC’s) National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households is useful and necessary, especially to inform Bank On programming and aligned financial products. The Coalition highlights specific questions from the Survey that have proved especially useful for member cities’ work, and urges the FDIC to keep as many questions as possible in the Survey. Finally, the Coalition asks for the ability to create custom tables from the data; encourages the FDIC to offer training for municipalities and others on how to use the tool; and urges caution as the FDIC explores moving towards online survey responses, given some un/underbanked and low-income consumers’ reluctance to submit personal information via online platforms.

The Citi Foundation and CFE Fund Expand Summer Jobs Connect to New Cities as Part of National Pathways to Progress Initiative

The Summer Jobs Connect (SJC) initiative, generously supported by Citi Foundation, leverages the scale and infrastructure of Summer Youth Employment Programs (SYEPs) to offer banking access and other financial empowerment opportunities, helping to transform a summer job into an on-ramp to the financial mainstream.

This March 2015 press release announces the Citi Foundation and the CFE Fund’s $4.6 million investment in a second, expanded year of the Summer Jobs Connect initiative. In Year Two, the program expanded to include Washington, DC and St. Louis, MO. The announcement also marks the launch of the CFE Fund’s report Summer Jobs Connect: More Than a Job: Lessons from the First Year of Enhancing Municipal Summer Youth Employment Programs through Financial Empowerment, which details important lessons from the programs in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, and San Francisco over the 2014 program summer.  

The Five Key Financial Empowerment Touchpoints for Summer Youth Employment Program Integration

The Summer Jobs Connect (SJC) initiative, generously supported by Citi Foundation, leverages the scale and infrastructure of Summer Youth Employment Programs (SYEPs) to offer banking access and other financial empowerment opportunities, helping to transform a summer job into an on-ramp to the financial mainstream.

This infographic illustrates the key programmatic touchpoints—application, enrollment, orientation, payroll, and ongoing training—that SJC partners used to integrate financial empowerment strategies into their SYEPs.