ST. LOUIS (8/28/14)--Three credit unions are wrapping up their first year of financial capability partnerships with human services agencies made possible through a $530,000 grant from the Financial Capability Partnership Initiative.
The initiative, managed by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions and the Center for Financial Services Innovation, promotes healthy financial alternatives for low-income individuals and families. Support for FCPI is provided by the Kresge Foundation.
"Problems faced by vulnerable populations require a variety of interventions. We believe the Financial Capability Partnership Initiative will help people become more integrated into the financial system and provide the tools to help them become self-sufficient," said Kimberlee Cornett, managing director of Kresge's Social Investment Practice.
St. Louis Community CU, with $245 million in assets, works with Kingdom House, an agency that provides social services in St. Louis, to make financial education and affordable financial products available to the agency's clients.
The credit union operates mini-branches in Kingdom House and in other social service agencies, making it convenient for clients to receive one-on-one financial counseling and learn about banking services. Kingdom House social workers include financial assessments in their annual client interviews, and one is trained as a personal finance specialist.
St. Louis Community CU's presence helps fill a gap in a neighborhood that is considered a financial institution "desert," said Scott Walker, Kingdom House executive director.
In Chicago, the Community Builders and South Side Community FCU, with $3 million in assets assists income-earning residents of a Work First Community Housing property with direct financial coaching and access to responsible financial products.
In San Francisco, Self-Help FCU, based on Raleigh, N.C., with $560 million in assets, works with the Mission SF Community Financial Center to offer financial coaching and credit union products to low-income 18- to 24-year-olds who are part of a skills-development program that includes college credit and corporate internships.
The Center for Financial Services Innovation and the federation have also provided support to credit unions and social service agencies in Cleveland; Durham, N.C.; New Orleans; and San Antonio.