The Supervitamin Quarterly Newsletter, Issue 21

This issue, Issue 21, details how the CFE Fund and our city partners continued to respond to COVID-19. Financial Empowerment Center initiative partners received CFE Fund support to meet increased demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic; the CFE Fund continued building out its newest program, the Financial Navigator initiative, to help cities provide remote financial triage and referrals; and the CFE Fund released the 2021-2022 Bank On National Account Standards. In addition, the CFE Fund announced the new cohort of Consumer Financial Protection Initiative grantees, who will focus first on a COVID-19 consumer awareness campaign and then plan for broader consumer financial protection capabilities within the city. This issue also features a guest column from the American Bankers Association (ABA) CEO and President, Rob Nichols, highlighting a recent partnership encouraging ABA partner banks across the country to offer Bank On certified accounts 

Over 50 Cities and Counties Offering Financial Counseling or Navigation Services To Build Resident Financial Stability During COVID-19

In this August 2020 press release, the CFE Fund announced that more than 50 city and county governments across the country will expand financial counseling and financial navigation services for their local residents in need. As part of this effort, the CFE Fund is launching a new Financial Navigators initiative, which will help 31 city and county governments newly offer their residents one-on-one remote sessions to help navigate the financial impact of COVID-19 through access to local, state, and federal resources. In addition, the CFE Fund announced an expansion of its Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) initiative, which offers professional, data-driven one-on-one financial counseling as a public service, funding additional FEC counselors and pivoting its national FEC infrastructure to accommodate remote services. This work is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Citi Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and the Wells Fargo Foundation.

Meeting the Emergency Moment: Key Takeaways from Delivering Remote Municipal Financial Counseling Services

Local governments across the country are working to help their residents weather the health and financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In many cities and counties, that means deploying their Financial Empowerment Centers (FECs), which provide professional, one-on-one financial counseling as a public service. Local leaders were able to offer FEC financial counseling as a critical component of their emergency response infrastructure; the fact that this service already existed, and was embedded into the fabric of municipal anti-poverty efforts, meant that it could quickly pivot to meet new COVID-19 needs, including through offering remote financial counseling.

This brief describes how FEC partners identified the right technology; developed skills to deliver counseling remotely; messaged the availability of FEC services as part of their localities’ COVID-19 response; and shared lessons learned with their FEC counterparts around the country.

The Supervitamin Quarterly Newsletter, Issue 20

This issue, Issue 20, details the CFE Fund’s and city partners’ response to COVID-19. Financial Empowerment Center initiative partners pivoted to remote counseling; the CFE Fund announced a new program, the Financial Navigator initiative, to help cities provide remote financial triage and referrals; and Bank On coalition partners shared information about safe bank and credit union accounts that could be used to receive stimulus and other emergency payments. In addition, the CFE Fund announced the new cohort of Consumer Financial Protection Initiative grantees, who will focus first on a  COVID-19 consumer awareness campaign and then plan for broader consumer financial protection capabilities within the city. This issue also features a guest column from the City of Newark, New Jersey’s Mayor Ras Baraka on the city’s Summer Youth Employment Program plans as part of the Summer Jobs Connect initiative.

Overview: Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) Counselor Training Standards

This overview summarizes the Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) model’s Counselor Training Standards. The Standards delineate the breadth and depth of the financial content areas, counseling and coaching skills, practice and experiential learning, and socio-economic and cultural context setting necessary to serve the diverse needs and backgrounds of FEC clients. The Standards also include a Code of Ethics that promotes responsible, professional and ethical financial counseling, furthering the profession of one-on-one financial counseling.

All FEC partners are required to train their financial counselors in accordance with the requirements and competencies detailed in these Standards. To facilitate counselor trainings, the CFE Fund has approved national and regional training providers’ courses that align with the Standards; additionally, the CFE Fund encourages local training providers (partner organizations, training consultants, community colleges, or universities) to submit their trainings for CFE Fund evaluation and approval.

Click here to learn more about the FEC Counselor training process, and to see a list of currently approved training providers.

Supervitamin Quarterly, Issue 15

This issue, Issue 15, highlights the findings from the CFE Fund and Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ 2017 Bank On Data Pilot; along with new Bank On resources; updates on the scaling of the Financial Empowerment Center initiative under the FEC Public platform; early successes seen from CFE Fund’s CityStart initiative; updates on Consumer Financial Protection efforts; and highlights from the fifth year of the Summer Jobs Connect initiative. It also includes local updates from the CFE Coalition, and a guest column from Daniel Davis, Assistant Vice President and Community Affairs Officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

New Research: What Counts as Saving in Financial Counseling Approaches and Outcomes

This webinar discusses data results from a two-city pilot that looked at how Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) clients are saving, to ultimately inform new savings indicators for financial counseling success.

In 2017, financial counselors at Financial Empowerment Centers (FECs) in Nashville and Philadelphia tested an innovative approach to defining, discussing, and tracking their clients’ efforts to build savings, using new savings outcomes. The CFE Fund combined counselor and client experiences with academic and policy research to operationalize the field’s thinking about how people with low incomes save, to tell a more complete story about the impact of financial counseling on savings, and to learn whether changing a program’s data system affects the way financial counselors work and the results their clients achieve.

Watch the webinar here. View the presentation here.

Read the full report on this new research here.

A Much Closer Look: Enhancing Savings Counseling at Financial Empowerment Centers

This report, with generous support from Capital One, draws on data results from a two-city pilot to better understand how Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) clients are saving and ultimately inform new savings indicators for financial counseling success.

In 2017, financial counselors at Financial Empowerment Centers (FECs) in Nashville and Philadelphia tested an innovative approach to defining, discussing, and tracking their clients’ efforts to build savings, using new savings outcomes. The CFE Fund combined counselor and client experiences with academic and policy research to operationalize the field’s thinking about how people with low incomes save, to tell a more complete story about the impact of financial counseling on savings, and to learn whether changing a program’s data system affects the way financial counselors work and the results their clients achieve.

The CFE Fund hosted a webinar on this report. Watch the webinar here. View the presentation here.

CFE Fund to Expand Free Financial Counseling to 50 Cities Through FEC Public Platform

This November 2017 press release announces th­­e first cohort of 12 local government partners selected to develop plans to replicate the proven Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) model under the CFE Fund’s new FEC Public platform.

Twelve local governments (Akron, OH; Detroit, MI; Greenville County, SC; Houston, TX; Miami, FL; New Haven, CT; Pittsburgh, PA; Sacramento, CA; San Francisco, CA; Memphis, TN; Shreveport, LA; and Syracuse, NY) were selected as initial grantees of the expanded program.

These municipalities will be the first 12 of up to 50 cities to work to with the CFE Fund to launch free, high-quality one-on-one financial counseling for low-income residents, thanks to generous support from Bloomberg Philanthropies as part of its American Cities Initiative. To learn more about FEC Public, visit www.fecpublic.org.

 

An Evaluation of Financial Empowerment Centers: The FEC Counseling Model

This brief summarizes findings about the FEC counseling process in the five FEC replication cities and is excerpted from the CFE Fund’s full report, An Evaluation of Financial Empowerment Centers: Building People’s Financial Stability As a Public Service. This brief details the relationships between FEC counselors and clients, as well as other critical aspects of the model, such as the hiring process and counselor training.

The CFE Fund hosted a 15-minute webinar on this topic; watch the webinar here, and view the presentation here.

Read the full evaluation to learn more about the FEC model.