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April 2017 Newsletter

RAISE Texas News

Sign Up to Track Important Asset-Building Bills This Legislative Session
RAISE Texas is tracking a number of important asset-building bills this session. Last week we sent out our first Policy Update for the 85th Legislative Session. Over the next 6-8 weeks we will provide general updates on all of the bills that RAISE Texas is tracking, and will alert our network on any specific bills that require action as the bills progress through the legislative process. If you do not receive our policy updates, please click here to sign up today. Otherwise, feel free to visit our Texas Legislation Page on our website to review the list of bills.

Texas News

Article Shares Longview’s Plan to Expand Community Loan Center Program

The city of Longview piloted an alternative program to payday loans and within months the new program had loaned almost $112,000 to 117 city employees. These results have led to the formation of a 14-county governmental entity, called the East Texas Regional Loan Corp., to take over the community loan effort and expand it throughout the region. The loan program is affiliated with the Community Loan Center of Texas, and offers loans of a maximum of $1,000 or half an employee’s gross monthly pay at an interest rate of 18 percent. These loans are offered through employers and automatic drafts are made for repayment. Click here to read the entire article about the new program.

Latest Episode of Access Available on Next-Stage Growth Program for Small Businesses

The latest episode of Access, a podcast from the Federal Reserve System, is now available and highlights Streetwise ‘MBA’. Streetwise ‘MBA’ is a data-driven program and curriculum that helps established small businesses achieve scale. Click here to listen now.

Five Texas Cities Chosen to Work on Pathways to Postsecondary and Workforce Success Cohort

National League of Cities is trying to find ways to address a key challenge facing cities: ensuring that all residents have access and support to earn industry valued certificates and degrees to gain meaningful employment. To do this, NLC has selected twelve cities to participate in the cohort to share ideas and strategies to design, implement and scale efforts in their city to improve equity in certificate/degree attainment and workforce success. We are excited that five of the cities selected are in Texas including Austin, Corpus Christi, El Paso, Houston, and San Antonio. We look forward to hearing about these efforts and supporting them in Texas. Congratulations to all of the cities that are taking these important steps to implement new ways for residents to receive post-secondary education and join the workforce. Click here to read more about this initiative.

Important Benchmark Reached for RAISE Texas Network Member On The Road Lending
On the Road Lending offers small dollar loans to clients to assist them in building and improving their credit scores. By using the positive payments on the loans, clients are able to increase their credit scores which helps to lower the costs of financial transactions but also can have a positive impact on employment and housing options. Congratulations to On The Road Lending for reaching 100 loans and for helping Texans make on-time payments and better their financial situations. RAISE Texas enjoys hearing about the success of our members and organizations in our network as they assist Texas families in building financial security. RAISE Texas is happy to share about the great work being done in Texas, but we do not endorse any products or programs that we are not directly involved in.

National News and Resources

Brief Discusses Why Communities of Color Need the CFPB

With all of the changes in the political environment, there has been much discussion about the need to protect the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The Center for American Progress recently released a new brief, Communities of Color Cannot Afford a Weakened CFPB, that highlights the work of the CFPB and the impact its enforcement actions around discriminatory lending practices have had so far. Read it here.

Illinois Pushing CSA Legislation in State Legislature

The Illinois Asset Building Group and all of its partners are trying to give all children in the state the opportunity to thrive through a CSA program. HB3691 will automatically open a 529 college savings account at birth for every child born in the state of Illinois. The account will be seeded with $50, and there will be opportunities to receive a 1:1 dollar match up to $150 of personal savings per year. Click here to read about the bill.

Blog Looks at the Inequality of Retirement by Race
A new Squared Away Blog looks at black Americans, Hispanic-Americans and the Asian-American populations in the U.S. as homogenous groups and describes the new issues they face in retirement. Some studies have previously looked at the financial challenges that each of these groups face, but this blog focuses on the recent decrease in homeownership and how that will affect the populations. Click here to read the blog.