The Financial Navigators initiative helps residents deal with the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing remote assistance in navigating critical financial issues and making referrals to other social services and resources. With support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Citi Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and the Wells Fargo Foundation, the CFE Fund is partnering with 31 local governments across the country, providing them with technical assistance and funding to launch a new public Financial Navigators program.
Trained Financial Navigators provide structured guidance over the phone to help people strategize around supports for disruptions to their income and other financial concerns. They help residents triage financial issues, identify immediate action steps, and make referrals to other services. Assistance includes managing expenses through prioritizing payments and when to make them, as well as maximizing income through ensuring receipt of federal payments, unemployment benefits, and other resources. In partner cities and counties across the country, helping residents navigate the financial impact of COVID-19 through the Financial Navigators initiative is a critical part of front-line emergency response efforts.
To learn more about the Financial Navigators initiative, contact I-Hsing Sun, Chief Program Officer.
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.
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 2021 – 2022. The CFE Fund announced an online Bank On account validation and certification process; banks and credit unions across the country, at no cost, 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.