People work hard to provide for their families and improve their financial circumstances. And while community organizations and social services across the country invest heavily in helping them, at the same time vulnerable communities have long been targets of fraudulent, predatory financial products and services. Just as local governments play an increasingly meaningful role in financially empowering their residents, they also can play a unique role in protecting residents’ hard-earned assets.
Building off of work begun by former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, and NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) then-Commissioner Jonathan Mintz, the CFE Fund was tapped to help local governments across the country develop and enhance their capacity to offer their residents consumer financial protection and empowerment. Local consumer protection agencies can augment financial empowerment gains by protecting consumer assets through licensing, regulation, enforcement, mediation, and outreach and education. Learn more about opportunities for local governments to protect their residents in the consumer financial marketplace on our new mini-site, www.protectinglocalconsumers.org.
In 2017, with generous seed funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the CFE Fund selected four local governments to launch local offices of consumer protection. These cities have each successfully launched their efforts, developing consumer complaint infrastructure, identifying enforcement priorities, and pursuing legislative reforms. The CFE Fund selected a second cohort of local administrations in 2020 to raise consumer awareness of and protect residents from COVID-19 related scams, and continue planning for broader consumer financial protection capabilities within the city, and selected a third cohort in 2021. The CFE Fund recently released a new opportunity for a fourth cohort of municipal partners to join the Local Consumer Financial Protection initiative, with applications due August 14. To learn more about the opportunity, watch our recent informational webinar here (password JdE=+20K).
Please contact Kant Desai, Senior Principal, with any questions or to learn more.