NCLR Action Network
We Are Almost There! Support Financial Advice for Low-Income Families
Thank you to the nearly 100 organizations who signed on to our letter to the Senate Banking Committee. The letter asks congressional members to extend free financial advice to more families through community-based organizations. We ask that this extension be included in the bank reform bill, “Restoring American Financial Stability Act,” which is currently under deliberation.
And now for the next step! We need you to help us obtain 150 signatures before the Senate makes key decisions on this legislation next week. Please sign below or email us by Monday, March 22, 2010 to have your name included. If you have already signed, please share this with your coalition partners.
Deputy Director, Wealth-Building Policy Project
The Hon. Richard C. Shelby, Ranking Member
& Members of the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairman Dodd, Ranking Member Shelby, and Committee Members:
We, the undersigned civil rights, consumer, and housing counseling organizations, write to ask members of the Senate Banking Committee to expand the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund’s Financial Education and Counseling pilot program when they consider their bank reform legislation, “Restoring American Financial Stability Act.” Each month, our organizations work with thousands of families who are struggling to get back on their feet. In tough economic times, hardworking families are being confronted with a new financial reality. Millions are watching their plans for the future dissolve due to unemployment, loss of income, depressed property values, foreclosure, or bankruptcy. To get back on the path to financial security, they need relevant, real-time advice from a professional who can offer objective guidance on a range of fiscal questions.
The “Financial Counseling Language” amendment will help to support community-based organizations offering financial counseling, allowing them to hire staff and provide a much-needed service to areas that have been hit hard by the recession. This is especially helpful in communities of color that have been disproportionately affected by foreclosures and unemployment. Counselors will help families open bank accounts, build credit, identify an affordable car loan or credit card, and recover from a foreclosure or bankruptcy. Specifically,
the amendment would:
• Provide a funding stream for one-on-one financial counseling. Individual advice tailored to the family’s circumstances is the best way to change the way they make financial decisions.
• Make financial counseling available to families at financial risk. The recession has not only weakened household balance sheets, it has left families reliant on high-cost credit and vulnerable to financial scams and deceptive lenders. Rather than allowing history to repeat itself, families need access to sound financial guidance that sets people back on the path to a fiscally secure future.
• Provide support to approved 501(c)(3) organizations with experience dealing with persons at financial risk. Community-based organizations are well known in the community and a trusted source of advice, with the ability to offer culturally competent and bilingual services where needed.
Our national economy will not recover until the balance sheets of families are stabilized. Rather than leave them in a position to get taken advantage of again, Congress must give them the tools to make sound financial decisions and avoid debt traps. Should you have any questions, please contact Janis Bowdler, Deputy Director Wealth-Building Policy Project, National Council of La Raza, at (202) 776-1748 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to working with you further on this crucial issue.