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March 2018 Newsletter

RAISE Texas News

March Membership Discounts Now Available- Are YOU a Member of RAISE Texas?

The celebration of 10 Years of RAISE Texas continues but we know that a lot of work is still to come. Our goal is to expand financial empowerment opportunities throughout Texas and we need YOU to do that! This month we are making it easy by providing March Membership Discounts for the next few weeks. RAISE Texas is increasing the number of members in our network, and creating valuable conversations and resources online to reach more Texans. Folks around the country always gawk at the size of our state- but we are thankful for the HUGE numbers of organizations and individuals on the ground reaching Texans with financial empowerment services. Many of those organizations and individuals are in our network, but not all of them. So join our network today to help us RAISE Texas! Since everything is bigger in Texas- let’s work together to make this asset building coalition the biggest ever!

Celebrating 10 Years of RAISE Texas…Did You Know?

Many people have asked how we decided what issues to work on in Texas. Well, in 2009 we put together our action campaigns based on feedback from YOU! After the first RAISE Texas Summit in 2008, we took the feedback we received and started to pull together a list of needs in Texas communities. We then hit the road. RAISE Texas held regional events throughout the state to discuss asset-building activities and to get feedback from organizations on the ground about the struggles and challenges in their communities. All of the conversations we had led to the development of our first four action campaigns: Matched Savings (IDAs and Children’s Savings Accounts); Community Tax Centers and EITC; Alternative Small Dollar Consumer Loan Products; and, Home Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention.

Years have gone by and lots have changed in our field. Our current campaigns are structured a little different than those established in 2009. However, listening to our network and the needs on the ground in the communities has never changed- in fact that is the driving force behind our work and the campaigns that our network works on. We work together to increase the financial health of Texans. If you aren’t already a part of our network, join today! We look forward to working with you. ~Lauren and Woody

Texas News

Prosperity Now Releases 2018 Scorecard- Texas Near Bottom
Prosperity Now recently released the 2018 Scorecard which assess all 50 states and DC on 115 measures of financial security. Texas is ranked 41st showing that there is still lots of work to be done by our network. Our state still lacks the policy support for Texans to become more financially secure. According to Prosperity Now, this year’s main findings from the Scorecard “argues that, contrary to popular narratives asserting that poor people make poor choices that trap them in cycles of poverty, it is actually the impossible choices forced by public policy that precludes families from achieving prosperity.” For more information on the main findings, read Whose Bad Choices? How Policy Precludes Prosperity and What We Can Do About It. Also, review the Texas Scorecard and let us know where you can help make positive changes to help make Texas more financially secure!

Regional Listening Sessions Provide Great Opportunity to Network

RAISE Texas would like to thank all of the Texas and Oklahoma organizations that participated in our second regional listening session hosted by Prosperity Now. These sessions provide the opportunity to hear about what is going on in the South Central region of the United States in the asset building field, network with other organizations in the region, and learn about ways to engage in the work that is being done. Be sure to join us on the next call!


National News

CFPB Releases 2018 List of Consumer Credit Reporting Companies

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released an updated list of consumer reporting companies. For those of you that work with clients to improve or understand credit, take a look at this list. This year’s list has some special features including:

  • Information to request a report.
  • Useful identity verification information.
  • Companies that will provide free scores.
  • New security free information

Click here to access the new list and all of the features and information it includes.

New Paper from CFS Looks at Credit Score Knowledge and Financial Behavior

The Center for Financial Security recently released a new paper, Does Knowing Your FICO Score Change Financial Behavior? Evidence from a Field Experiment with Student Loan Borrowers. A field experiment was conducted with over 400,000 Sallie Mae student loan borrowers to see the impact of providing access to an individual’s FICO Score on their financial behavior. Experiment findings show that students in the treatment group that had access to their FICO Score are less likely to have any payments past due, have higher FICO Scores after one year, and more likely to have at least one revolving credit account. Click here to read the entire paper.

Blog Post Explains How Researchers Know Which Low Earners Save Tax Refunds

Past experiments to help low-income workers save a portion of their tax refund have been only moderately successful in the past. In a research study, researchers looked for clues to what motivates low-income earners by examining which ones spend the refund verses those that save it. A Journal of Consumer Affairs article shares the key finding: the people who save put thought into predicting the size of their refunds at the time they filed their taxes. Researchers Nilton Porto and Michael Collins say the “act of estimating in advance ‘appears to be a form of planning’’. In the study, clients at VITA sites filled out a form that asked them to estimate the amount of the refund they expect to get back and if they want to save the money. The clients that estimated their refunds tended to be the same people that saved their refunds. Click here to read the entire blog.

CFPB Launches New Financial Coaching Webpage

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently launched a webpage on financial coaching to provide practitioners with:

  • Best practices in the financial coaching field;
  • Information about CFPB’s Financial Coaching Initiative; and,
  • The results of rigorous research they conducted on financial coaching.
Find the new financial coaching webpage here.