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July 2017 Newsletter

RAISE Texas News

Governor Signs Important Bills into Law

The 85th Texas Regular Legislative Session is over. Although we are disappointed by the lack of positive impact made this session, we are excited to announce that the Governor has signed some important pieces of legislation into law. There were four pieces of legislation that passed both the House and the Senate this session that could help expand financial opportunity for Texans and further our work. Governor Abbott signed three of the bills we were tracking.

  • HB 471 Representative E. Johnson
    Relating to authorizing a credit unions or other financial institution to conduct savings promotion raffles.
    06/15/2017 Signed by the Governor and will be effective on adoption of constitutional amendment (HJR 37)
  • House Joint Resolution (HJR) 37 Representative E. Johnson
    05/24/2017 Filed with the Secretary of State. This proposed constitutional amendment will be on the ballot during the November 7, 2017 election. Voters will be able to vote for or against the proposition: “The constitutional amendment relating to legislative authority to permit credit unions and other financial institutions to award prizes by lot to promote savings.”
  • SB 377 Senator Perry
    Related to the Texas Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Program.
    05/29/2017 Signed by the Governor and effective immediately
  • HB 2008 Representative Cosper
    Relating to deferred presentment transactions made to military borrowers.
    06/15/2017 Signed by the Governor and will be effective on 9/1/2017

Texas News

TFEE Now Accepting Applications for 2018-2019 Funding Cycle

The Texas Financial Education Endowment (TFEE) is now accepting applications for the 2018-2019 grant cycle. 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. Applications will be accepted between July 7, 2017 and September 25, 2017. 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.

OCCC Releases 2016 Report on Financial Services and Consumer Loan Products
The Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner (OCCC) released a new report, 2016 Report on Availability, Quality, and Pricing of Certain Financial Services and Consumer Loan Products, to highlight five of the most commonly used loans by Texas consumers and a list of available lower-cost alternatives. The types of loans explained in the report are Home Equity Loan, Personal/Secured Consumer Loans, Small Installment/Signature Consumer Loans, Credit Access Business (Payday and Title Loans) and Pawn Loans. It is important to educate Texas consumers, especially the economically vulnerable clients about these different types of loans, the costs of the loans, and alternatives to high-cost loans. Click here to read the report.

National News and Resources

2016 Financial Coaching Census Results Now Available

Financial Coaching continues to gain recognition as a strategy that improves financial capability and security for clients. The Center for Financial Security (CFS) and Asset Funders Network (AFN) released the results from the 2016 Financial Coaching Census. The census captured responses from 483 organizations across 48 states, D.C. and Puerto Rice, and included 309 different cities and towns. A few of the key findings from the 2016 Financial Coaching Census are:

  • Funding of financial coaching training is increasing;
  • Financial coaches are more likely to select training opportunities offered through resources such as NeighborWorks America than in 2015; and
  • The majority of respondents reported that financial coaching “improves their clients’ financial situations” and that “credit”, “savings” and “budgeting” are the most important indicators of success.

Click here to read the entire census report, or access the executive summary here.

Take Action to Protect VITA Funding

On June 29, the House Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee released a preliminary budget that would cut federal Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) funding to $7.5 million , down 50% from the $15 million provided in FY17. Our national partner, Prosperity Now (formerly CFED) has let us know that there is still time to stop this funding cut! VITA programs, taxpayers served by VITA sites, and other advocates need to call their representatives and urge them to ensure that VITA is funded at $15 million in the fiscal year 2018 budget. Help us tell Congress how critical VITA is in your community! Click here for more information.

Summer Jobs Can Help Build Good Financial Skills into Young Workers

Since summer jobs are a great opportunity for young workers to develop habits and skills that lead to success, especially good financial habits. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a blog post to encourage young people to take control of their finances, make choices about various financial products and develop new financial skills while working a summer job. Click here to read the blog.

Research Findings about the Affordable Care Act’s Effect on Family Finances

The Center for Social Development (CSD) released some research findings about the Affordable Care Act. This study is one of the first to show the effect of the Affordable Care Act on family finances and the first to show the financial impact of the Marketplace component of the program. According to the study, people with health insurance through the Marketplace component are less likely to default on their rent or mortgage payments than uninsured households. Researchers also found that the societal cost savings generated from fewer evictions and foreclosures could equal half of the federal cost of subsidizing health insurance coverage for the near-poor. Click here for more information and to access the entire study.

Video Features New Financial Counseling Model
The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions just released “Pathways to Stability,” a video about two families participating in a new financial counseling model. Pathways to Financial Empowerment is a financial counseling model supported by technology to track the impact on members and the community. The families in the program show how a combination of financial counseling and credit union products can improve their financial lives. Sponsored by the MetLife Foundation, Pathways launched in 2015. Data from the first year of the program found over 60% of clients improved their credit and 40% are using a new product at the credit union. Click here to watch the video.