Bank On Fellowship

The CFE Fund’s Bank On national initiative supports local coalitions with strategic and financial support, as well as liaising nationally with banking, regulatory, and nonprofit organization partners to expand banking access, including through the first-ever Bank On National Account Standards.

The CFE Fund’s Bank On Fellowship program, generously supported by Wells Fargo, provides funding and in-kind technical assistance to support a full-time Fellow to lead their coalition’s activities. The first Bank On Fellowship cohort includes: Bank On Houston (Houston, TX); Bank On New Haven (New Haven, CT); Bank On Rubber City (Akron, OH); Bank On South Alabama (Mobile County, AL); and Bank On Suncoast (Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota, FL). The second cohort of Bank On Fellows includes: Bank On Maryland (State of Maryland); Bank On Greater Milwaukee (Milwaukee, WI); Bank On Atlanta (Atlanta, GA); Bank On Jackson (Jackson, MS); and Bank On ONAC (Oklahoma Native Region).

Bank On coalitions are locally-led partnerships between local public officials; city, state, and federal government agencies; financial institutions; and community organizations that work together to help improve the financial stability of unbanked and underbanked individuals and families in their communities.

The CFE Fund is currently accepting applications for the next cohort of Bank On Fellows; apply now! Applications are due January 8, 2021.

CityStart

The CFE Fund’s CityStart initiative, supported by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and others, offers mayors and their administrations a structured approach to identify financial empowerment goals, convene relevant stakeholders for sustainable success, develop actionable strategies, and ultimately craft a blueprint that is rooted in local insights and opportunities.

This two-phase action engagement connects critical insights about the impact of financial instability on municipal governments with tangible, sustainable strategies to improve families’ financial lives. Often, the first phase of the initiative is a municipal financial empowerment “boot camp” that brings together key local constituencies. Based on issues identified in the boot camp, as well as mayoral priorities, the CFE Fund works with city partners on a second phase: implementation planning. This more intensive engagement harnesses the momentum from the boot camp to design a comprehensive financial empowerment blueprint and identify key implementation stakeholders.

The CityStart initiative stems from the CFE Fund’s extensive work with local government leaders, and connects critical on-the-ground insights about the impact of financial instability on families, communities, and municipal budgets with tangible, measurable, and sustainable municipal strategies to improve families’ financial lives. CityStart cities have historically leveraged their engagement with the CFE Fund to further their commitment to this work.

If you have any questions about the CityStart initiative, contact Tamara Lindsay, Principal.

Financial Empowerment Center Replication Initiative

Financial Empowerment Centers (FEC) offer professional, one-on-one financial counseling as a free public service to enable residents to address their financial challenges and needs as well as plan for their futures. In partnership with seed funder Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Capital One, The JPB Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, the CFE Fund is promoting FEC replication through cohorts of local leaders who are developing, launching, and implementing financial counseling as a free public service, along with strategic research projects to enhance the success of financial counseling.

The CFE Fund is supporting cohorts of new cities or counties interested in launching a Financial Empowerment Center, learn more!  Get in touch to join as a supportive funding partner.

The Financial Empowerment Center Model

Financial Empowerment Center clients receive free, one-on-one professional counseling assistance with money management, budgeting, reducing debt, establishing and improving credit, connecting to safe and affordable banking services, building savings, and referrals to other services and organizations. Professionally trained counselors support their clients in navigating complex financial challenges and choices, helping them identify and meet present challenges and future ambitions. Local governments offer FEC financial counseling as a free stand-alone public service, but also via integration into other social services including housing and foreclosure prevention services, workforce development, prisoner reentry, benefits access, domestic violence prevention, and more.

Financial Empowerment Center Evaluation Findings

In 2013, the CFE Fund awarded its first grants to replicate the model in five cities through a $16.2 million, 3-year investment by Bloomberg Philanthropies. An Evaluation of Financial Empowerment Centers: Building People’s Financial Stability As a Public Service, demonstrates the success of the 5-city implementation, drawing on data from 22,000 clients who participated in 57,000 counseling sessions across the first 5 city replication partners.

Bank On

Bank On coalitions are locally-led partnerships between local public officials; city, state, and federal government agencies; financial institutions; and community organizations that work together to help improve the financial stability of unbanked and underbanked individuals and families in their communities. These first-generation banking access programs have already connected tens of thousands of people to safe and affordable account; Bank On programs also work to raise public awareness, target outreach to the unbanked, and expand access to financial education.

The CFE Fund’s Bank On national initiative builds on this grassroots movement, supporting local coalitions with strategic and financial support, as well as by liaising nationally with banking, regulatory, and nonprofit organization partners to expand banking access, including through the first-ever Bank On National Account Standards, updated for 2019-2020. The CFE Fund also announced an online Bank On account validation and certification process; banks and credit unions across the country, at no cost, now can submit for validation products they believe meet the national Standards. The list of financial institutions offering such products continues to expand across the country.

The CFE Fund hosted the 2019 Bank On National Conference in Washington, D.C.

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.