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November 2017 Newsletter

RAISE Texas News

Financial Wellness Programs Boost Stability for Texans- New Report Released TODAY!

According to a new RAISE Texas and CPPP report, too many Texas workers are living in financial insecurity. This can lead to financial stress that can result in reduced job productivity.

Workplace financial wellness programs – which help workers manage their finances through programs like employer-based lending programs and automatic savings opportunities – can play an important role in opening up more doors for Texas workers to become more financially secure and could help reduce the state’s high rate of financial insecurity.

Our new report has several recommended ways that employers can provide financial empowerment opportunities to employees. Read all about them in our full report on financial wellness programs.

Get Ready for an Epic 2018

Next year is going to be an epic year for us as RAISE Texas turns 10! Plan now to get involved in all of the activities that we have planned: RAISE Texas membership drive, social media campaigns, pilot programs and closing out the year with the 2018 RAISE Texas Summit. We hope you will sign up to be an active member of the RAISE Texas Network. We are so thankful for the 1,500 organizations and individuals that support us through our listserv/information dissemination, the hundreds of partners and members that take part in pilot activities, and our Board of Directors that provides guidance and expertise each year as we work hard to help Texans get ahead. Thank you for being a part of the RAISE Texas Network! Don’t miss out on the exciting opportunities to get involved starting in January.

Community Leaders Discuss Key Steps to Expand Financial Empowerment Opportunities in Texas
For two days, the RAISE Texas Community Leadership Team and other key partners met in Austin to discuss the exciting asset-building activities in Texas and how to expand these financial empowerment opportunities statewide. Agenda items included: Increasing the quality and capacity of financial coaching, Small dollar loan alternatives, Launching children’s savings accounts for college, Providing financial wellness programs in the workplace, and other savings opportunities. Thank you to the community leaders that took part in this meeting. We look forward to working together to expand financial empowerment opportunities for all Texans!

RAISE Texas Presents Solutions to Income Volatility in the Workplace
Last month, RAISE Texas’ Lauren Gates presented on Workplace Financial Wellness opportunities and how these products and programs can help employees lessen the impact of income volatility on their financial situations. The North Texas Asset Funders Network in Dallas and the San Antonio Area Asset Funders Network in San Antonio, both held events focused on “Income Volatility: Why it Destabilizes Working Families and Sector-Based Approaches that Make a Difference” where panelists discussed the impact of income volatility on working families in Texas, and then some innovative workplace financial wellness opportunities to assist families in combating the income swings within the workplace. Many of the products and programs that Lauren discussed during the panels can be found in our newest report on Workplace Financial Wellness Programs. Click here to access RAISE Texas and CPPP’s new report.

Texas News

Proposition 7 Passes- Prize-Linked Savings Are Coming to Texas!

In June, Governor Abbott signed HB 471 into law. HB 471 gives banks and credit unions the ability to offer chances to win cash prizes for Texans who are making deposits into a savings account. This is a great way to promote savings behavior and to help Texans build their savings. The challenge was that HB 471 could not go into effect until the adoption of the constitutional amendment, HJR 37, because the Texas Constitution prohibits banks from awarding these types of prizes. Yesterday the votes were cast and Proposition 7 (HJR 37), the constitutional amendment that would allow financial institutions to award these types of prizes passed! We are looking forward to being a part of the collaboration of financial institutions and community groups to implement prize-linked savings programs and to help more Texans build their savings!

Webinar: What’s in the CFPB’s Payday & Auto-Title Lending Rules?

Texas Fair Lending Alliance (TFLA) is hosting a webinar on Thursday, November 9th from 11:30AM- 12:30 PM CST to discuss the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s rule on payday and auto-title lending. Specifically, the webinar will cover: what is in the final rule; steps we can take to support the rule; and what the rule means for Texas and cities with the ordinance. Click here to register today!

Bank On Houston Receives Bank On Fellowship Award
The Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund announced the five local Bank On coalitions that were awarded Bank On Fellowships. Congratulations to Bank On Houston for receiving one of the awards. The Bank On Fellowship program is the first national initiative focused on building a multi-city cohort of successful Bank On program coordinators. We are excited that Yvonne Green will be the Bank On Houston Fellow and will take advantage of the initiative’s training, tools and resources to advance local banking access efforts in Texas. Click here to read more about the program.

National News and Resources

Blog Post Discusses 401(k) “Nudges”

Squared Away Blog’s new post discusses behavioral economist Richard Thaler’s, winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in economics, belief that the greatest contribution of the field of behavioral economics is proving that setting up automatic savings makes people more likely to save. There are two types of automation for retirement savings. First, more employers have turned to automated 401(k)s to increase employee participation in the retirement savings plans. Second, Thaler and economist Shlomo Benartzi believe that automatically increasing the amount employees save can help increase the retirement participation and savings. Thaler calls the automation of retirement savings “nudging” workers to participate. Read the entire blog post here.

Webinar on November 15 on the Retirement Divide

RAISE Texas and its partners have been discussing the need for solutions around the lack of retirement savings in our state for several years now. Although there hasn’t been significant movement in the retirement savings area through policy or programs in Texas, we are excited to follow the national conversation around connecting more Americans to retirement savings opportunities. The Aspen Institute is hosting an event, Bridging the Retirement Divide: Reaching Small Owners and Workers, on Wednesday, November 15 from 9:00am-11:30am CST. They will be having a webcast of the event so that people from around the country can learn from the discussion. Click here to register for the webcast.

Reports Released on Sustainable Funding Options for College

The College Promise Campaign and Educational Testing Service held an event at the National Press Club last month to release five reports that explore sustainable funding options for tuition-free college. Also at the event, Carl Rist from Prosperity Now and William Elliott from the University of Michigan discussed their paper on how College Promise and CSA programs complement one another and explained that linking the two can help low-income families get their children to and through college. Click here to read the full reports on sustainable funding options.

New Mortgage Performance Trends Tool Launched

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently released a new Mortgage Performance Trends tool to track delinquency rates nationwide. The tool shows that mortgage delinquency rates nationally are at their lowest point since the financial crisis, but the tool also features interactive charts and graphs at the county and metro-area level in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Access the new tool here.

Call for Papers on Financial Capability Interventions
The Journal of Consumer Affairs and the Federal Financial Literacy and Education Commission have put out a call for papers for a special issue and a symposium on “Effective Financial Capability Interventions for Economically Vulnerable Individuals and Families”. Specifically, papers should explore the effect of financial capability interventions on changes in measurable financial behaviors or outcomes, and identify and evaluate programs for improving financial capability that can be replicated. The submission deadline for papers is March 16, 2018. Click here for more details about the submissions.