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August 2017 Newsletter

RAISE Texas News

Reserve Your Spot Today for the Rio Grande Valley Regional Convening

We hope you can join us in Brownsville, Texas, on September 12 & 13, 2017, for the Rio Grande Valley Convening and site visits focused on highlighting and scaling innovative solutions to increase household financial security, economic mobility, workplace financial well-being and intergenerational wealth creation.

The Community Development Corporation of Brownsville, Prosperity Now, RAISE Texas and the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, with sponsorship from JPMorgan Chase & Co., are coordinating this two-day event to convene local and national stakeholders in housing, health care, banking, consumer finance, workforce and higher education. Together we’ll discuss data and research on household financial security and explore what’s working so we can identify strategies to expand access to these solutions to more people, neighborhoods and communities.

Registration is FREE but space is limited. Click here to register today to ensure your place for the convening and/or site visits. The deadline to register for this event is September 1, 2017.

Texas News

Calling ALL Texas Cities and Counties- Apply today to Start a Financial Empowerment Center!

The CFE Fund released a new funding opportunity to assist up to 12 local city or county government partners looking to plan how to bring the Financial Empowerment Center model of free, professional, one-on-one financial counseling and coaching to their residents. Selected localities will receive up to $20,000 and technical assistance for 6-12 months to design and prepare for the launch of a Financial Empowerment Center. Those selected will then be eligible for additional grant funds to launch their FEC initiative. Apply now. Or for more information, register for the informational webinar on August 14 at 2:00pm EST.

TFEE Accepting Funding Applications

The Texas Financial Education Endowment (TFEE) is accepting applications for the 2018-2019 grant cycle. Applications will be accepted between July 7, 2017 and September 25, 2017. The grant program funds consumer credit building activities and programs for youth and adults throughout the state to promote and support financial capability, education and responsibility of Texans. Selected grantees will be announced in early November 2017 and grant awards may range from $5,000 to $40,000 contingent upon funds approved by the Texas Finance Commission. For more information on this grant program, click here.

New Distance Learning Opportunity in Texas to Become an Accredited Financial Counselor

The Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education (AFCPE) has approved Texas Tech University to offer the AFC® Distance Learning Program for working professionals, which offers courses that helps satisfy the educational requirement to sit for the AFC® exam. The program has two online courses and provides all program materials. The registration deadline for fall semester is August 21, so click here to register or get more information here. If you are a manager and are interested in potentially having several coaches or staff members take part in this distance learning opportunity, please send an email to Lauren at lgates@raisetexas.org.

Community Loan Centers Makes Its 25,000 Loan

Congratulation to the Community Loan Centers (CLCs) on reaching a milestone in loans closed. Texas Community Capital, a lead partner, announced that on July 26, 2017 the Community Loan Center Affordable Small-Dollar Loan Program (CLC) processed loan number 25,000. The CLC has doubled the number of borrowers in the last 12 months.

CLC local lenders use their own loan capital and the CLC lending system to bring this innovative online loan program to employees of employers in the communities they serve. Local lenders receive interest income from the loans they make which allows them to pay for the costs of operating the CLC loan program. For more information contact Howard Porter CLC Program Manager at howard@tccapital.org.

National News and Resources

myRA Program No Longer Opening New Accounts

Unfortunately following a recent review, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has decided to phase out the myRA program. No new enrollments will be accepted, but savings in existing accounts will remain safely in the investment issued by Treasury. Accountholders have been notified and the myRA website has been updated with transition information. Accountholders can continue to manage their accounts until further notice. Treasury has a plan in place to inform and prepare myRA accountholders for the upcoming transition. Please follow the recommendations below if you get questions from clients or need information.

  • If you receive questions from myRA accountholders, please refer them to myRA.gov, where they will find the most up-to-date information and resources.
  • If you are an employer, prepare to stop – at the employee’s request -- instances of direct deposit saving into myRA.
  • Update or remove references to myRA on your organization’s website and in your educational, informational, and onboarding materials.
Prosperity Now Launches New State Scorecards- Texas Ranked 41

Prosperity Now (formerly CFED) recently released the 2017 Scorecard data which reveals that millions of Americans are unable to save for a more financially secure future. In fact, 44 percent of households did not save for emergencies in the past year. Texans continue to struggle with only 41.8% of Texas credit users having prime credit, 28.4% of adults in Texas having at least a 4-year college degree, and 30.3% of jobs in Texas are low-wage jobs. Texas is ranked 41st in the nation for the financial stability of its citizens. On the policy side, Texas doesn’t fare any better with only 15 of the 53 potential policies that can help strengthen the financial security and economic mobility of its citizens. Read the Texas State Report. Click here to compare the Texas rankings with all 49 other states and the District of Columbia. And for a complete overview, read Prosperity Now’s, On Track or Left Behind: Findings from the 2017 Prosperity Now Scorecard.

Retirement Calculators- Options to Keep Savings on Track

The Squared Away Blog posted interesting information about three retirement calculators. Although these calculators cannot take the place of professional advice or financial planning, they offer a free way to track retirement finances. The calculators discussed in the blog meet specific criteria: reliable, free and easy to use. Click here to read about the three options.

Are You An Employer Interested in Workplace Financial Wellness Services?

Prosperity Now and Center for Social Development created a helpful new resource for employers called Workplace Financial Wellness Services: A Primer For Employers. The primer gives an overview of common workplace financial wellness services that can be tailored by employers to fit the needs of lower-income workers. Employers, click here and find out more about the exciting opportunities of workplace financial wellness services.

Survey Finds 70 Million People are Without an Emergency Savings
NeighborWorks America’s new consumer finance survey finds that 30 percent, or 70 million people, say they have no emergency savings. In fact, 47 percent of people say that their money would last three months or less, and 25 percent of adults only have enough money to get by for less than one month if they were to lose their jobs or have a financial emergency. Is there a solution? The Federal Reserve’s research found that as little as $400 in the bank can make a difference when a financial emergency arises. Click here to read about who is most at risk, and NeighborWork’s solution.