Banking Connect Pilot Initiatives

Building off the successes of the national Bank On and Summer Jobs Connect initiatives, the CFE Fund is testing different ways to integrate banking access into existing municipal and community programs; for example, the CFE Fund is supporting local partnerships that link high school age youth and their families  to the financial mainstream through safe and affordable bank accounts, as well as innovative programmatic approaches to helping unbanked people open safe and affordable accounts when they start a new job.

Pilot partners identify ways to integrate banking access into existing youth and workforce development programs, and have established local connections with financial institutions to offer bank accounts certified as meeting the Bank On National Account Standards or the Youth Account Priorities. The goal of these pilots is to learn more about how existing programs can leverage payment touchpoints to support account opening for program participants.

 

Expert Topic: Offices of Financial Empowerment

Across the country, many local leaders have launched Offices of Financial Empowerment (OFEs) or similar municipal offices that serve as a home for financial empowerment programming efforts. Check out these resources to learn from CFE Coalition city experts about why city leaders invest in OFEs; what OFEs do; and pathways to launching OFEs.

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.

Summer Jobs Connect

Summer Jobs Connect is an ambitious initiative spearheaded by the Citi Foundation and the CFE Fund to support young adults seeking summer employment, enhancing these municipally-led programs by integrating structural linkages to safe and appropriate banking products, services, and education. In the initiative’s seventh year, the CFE Fund worked  with 23 city governments and their local Summer Youth Employment Program partners to provide additional job positions to local residents of predominantly low incomes between the ages of 14 and 24, as well as connect them to appropriate bank and credit union products and meaningful financial education. 

Through the CFE Fund’s leadership, our city partner’s efforts and the Citi Foundation’s support of over $36 million, Summer Jobs Connect has provided over 15,000 young people with summer work experience and connected financial empowerment services. Beyond a seasonal paycheck, Summer Jobs Connect positions early job experiences as entry points for lifelong success in the financial mainstream.

 

CFE Fund and Capital One Announce Winners of Multi-City Hackathon to Support Financial Empowerment

The CFE Fund and Capital One announced the winner of the Multi-City Financial Empowerment Hackathon, a national effort to create software applications (apps) focused on financial inclusion. Representing San Francisco, MEDAPulse, in partnership with the Mission Economic Development Agency, won the national competition with a tool that helps financial counselors better engage with clients by using technology to remind them of the goals that clients committed to achieving between sessions.

Through a grant from Capital One, the CFE Fund provided funding and technical assistance to Chicago, New York City and San Francisco to host regional hackathons. Combined, hackathons in these cities had over 110 participants who worked in teams to create numerous apps, including budget trackers, goal-setting applications, financial achievement badges and financial action plans.