News Flash

Roanoke General City News

Posted on: October 18, 2018

City Selected to Develop Financial Counseling as Free Public Service for Low-Income Residents

Roanoke, VA – The City of Roanoke, in partnership with the national Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund), announced today their selection to replicate the proven Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) model under its nationwide FEC Public national platform. In collaboration with community partners Freedom First Credit Union and United Way of the Roanoke Valley, the City of Roanoke will receive support to bring free, professional, one-on-one financial counseling as a public service to Roanoke residents; already, 18 local governments across the country are working to replicate this proven model.

The CFE Fund, with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, Wells Fargo, The JPB Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, and Capital One, is working to expand the FEC model to as many as 50 local governments across the map. The CFE Fund provides grant support, intensive technical assistance, and a vibrant national learning community to help local government partners plan, launch, and sustain Financial Empowerment Centers for their residents.

Sherman Lea, Mayor of the City of Roanoke said in response to the announcement, “Our continued efforts of ensuring residents in need have access to the tools that will help them gain self-sufficiency and financial stability will be further enhanced through this partnership.  I am especially pleased that this current effort so well compliments the collaborative work already underway in the community through our United Way Bank On program.”

“Local leaders know that when residents are in financial trouble, they need real, professional help. They also know that individual and family financial stability is key to community financial stability,” said Jonathan Mintz, President and CEO of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. “Mayor Lea and the City of Roanoke are committed to a national movement to bring free, high-quality financial counseling as a public service to their residents; we are proud to partner with Mayor Lea on this critical work.”

Roanoke is one of nine localities just selected to receive a grant and intensive technical assistance to prepare to launch a local FEC through the national FEC Public platform, which promotes scale and sustainability for the growing movement of professional, one-on-one financial counseling as a free public service. First piloted in New York City under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2008, the FECs have worked with over 82,000 clients, helping them reduce individual debt by over $100 million, and increasing their families’ savings by over to $10 million. A recent CFE Fund evaluation showed that this program works even for residents with very low incomes and other complex financial challenges.

Financial Empowerment Centers (FECs) offer professional, one-on-one financial counseling as a free public service. At the Financial Empowerment Centers, professionally trained FEC counselors help individuals and families with low and moderate incomes manage their finances, pay down debt, increase savings, establish and build credit, and access safe and affordable mainstream banking products. At the core of the FEC model is the integration of counseling into other social services, including housing and foreclosure prevention, workforce development, prisoner reentry, benefits access, domestic violence services, and more.

Roanoke is one of nine new local governments selected for this newest local government cohort after a competitive application process; the other partners are Atlanta, GA; Aurora, IL; Baltimore, MD; the County of Hawai’i, HI; Erie, PA; Polk County, IA; Rochester, NY; and Washington, DC. This new cohort joins 18 other local governments already working to offer FEC services.

About the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund)

The CFE Fund supports municipal efforts to improve the financial stability of households by leveraging opportunities unique to local government. By translating cutting-edge experience with large-scale programs, research, and policy in cities of all sizes, the CFE Fund assists mayors and other local leaders in almost 70 cities to identify, develop, fund, implement, and research pilots and programs that help families build assets and make the most of their financial resources. For more information, please visit www.cfefund.org or follow the CFE Fund on Twitter at @CFEFund.


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Media Contact: 

Whitney Slightham
whitney.slightham@roanokeva.gov
540-853-6428


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