Issue 17 | July 2019
Letter from the President & CEO
The CFE Fund is nearing the end of a busy event season – over the span of a little more than two months, we hosted the CFE Coalition’s 28th Forum in Philadelphia; held our biennial Bank On National Conference in Washington, DC with almost 200 banking access stakeholders; conducted an in-depth training for a new cohort of full-time Bank On Fellows; brought together financial counselors and managers representing eleven local governments for a Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) Learning Community convening; and just completed a Local Consumer Financial Protection Conference, where partners from over two dozen local governments came together to learn about municipal consumer financial protection opportunities.

As many Supervitamin Quarterly readers know all too well, each of these events represents a serious commitment of staff time and energy (including the not-insignificant time it takes to come up with innovative new swag ideas ). But I’m struck with how clear it is that the resources needed to pull off each event pale in comparison to what happens when partners from across the country get into the same room to share notes and explore best practices together.

Learning communities are fundamental to how the CFE Fund works to grow and nurture the financial empowerment field. Particularly given the intricacies of local government-based programming, bringing together partners who can share their firsthand experiences and strategies leveraging public programs, politics, procurement, and budgets is irreplaceable. For a couple of examples, at our recent FEC Learning Community convening, financial counselors from Akron, OH compared notes with counselors from Greenville County, SC on common client issues related to predatory automobile title loans. At the CFE Coalition Forum, member cities shared insights and compared notes about financial empowerment and consumer protection issues related to cashless businesses . Freer to talk frankly, spurred by the magic of interpersonal connections, and inspired even just by overhead remarks, these in-person gatherings really matter. 

In fact, the importance of learning from each other is baked into the CFE Fund’s DNA; the impetus for the organization grew out of the CFE Coalition, an invitation-only group of city leaders from across the country who were committed to municipal financial empowerment efforts (which the CFE Fund still helps to oversee). In those early days just over 11 years ago, as the field was in its infancy, the ability to come together in a closed-door meeting was critical to the growth of this movement. As the field grew and the CFE Fund was born, the importance of these shared, in-person conversations remained a guiding star.

So, despite the marathon of logistics that such a busy event season requires, we remain committed to, and certain of, the value of convening as a community. We know it makes our work, and the work of our partners, richer and deeper. 

Thanks, as always, for your partnership.

The CFE Fund’s FEC Public initiative, with seed support from Bloomberg Philanthropies and others including The JPB Foundation, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase Foundation, supports over two dozen local governments in working to launch professional, one-on-one Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) counseling as a free public service for residents in need. 

Earlier this month, the CFE Fund convened over 100 financial counselors and managers from eleven local governments currently operating FECs. The two-day convening in New York provided an opportunity for new and expert FEC partners to share case studies and lessons learned on financial counseling topics such as student debt and loan repayment, predatory lending, automobile financing, client retention, banking access, and professional development.
New Funding Opportunity!
The CFE Fund is thrilled to announce we are now accepting applications from cities or counties to bring the FEC model of professional, one-on-one, financial counseling to up to 15 additional cities and/or counties. Local governments with populations of over 75,000 residents are eligible to apply; applications are due by COB on August 9, 2019 .

The FEC Public replication strategy is comprised of three distinct phases: (1) Planning, (2) Implementation, and (3) Expert Designation. Please note this application is only for the 2019 Planning cohort. For this Planning Phase, localities (city or county governments) will work toward launching a public financial counseling program using the FEC model. The CFE Fund will support these selected localities through a planning grant of $20,000, along with technical assistance to coordinate the key building blocks to launch an FEC. The CFE Fund will host an informational webinar about this opportunity today, July 11th, at 3 PM EST ; register for the webinar here.

To learn more about FEC Public, contact   Tamara Lindsay , Principal.
On May 29th, the CFE Fund convened nearly 200 Bank On partners for the 2019 Bank On National Conference at the Newseum in Washington, DC. The biennial conference reflected the important progress of the Bank On movement , both locally and nationally, to connect residents to safe, affordable mainstream bank and credit union accounts. Attendees included key partners from across the country: local Bank On coalition program leads and their community partners, Mayors, city administrators, tribal governments, financial institutions large and small, federal banking regulators, national nonprofit organizations, philanthropic partners, consumer advocates, and more.

At the conference , the CFE Fund was honored to host a lunchtime conversation exploring the municipal connection to Bank On with Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of the City of Atlanta, GA; Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba of the City of Jackson, MS; and Mayor Frank Scott Jr. of the City of Little Rock, AR – read highlights from this conversation in the guest column below!

The conference also included a preview of the Bank On National Data Hub, launched in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis after a successful pilot year, that will serve as the central reporting platform for all Bank On certified accounts; early findings from a national research study on effective communication strategies for unbanked consumers; and a new, free of charge, professional website template which is now available for all Bank On coalitions. The CFE Fund is grateful to the 2019 Bank On National Conference sponsors: JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, U.S. Bank, IBERIABANK, BB&T Bank, and Discover.
2019 Bank On Fellowship Cohort
Additionally, last month, with support from Wells Fargo, the CFE Fund announced the second national cohort of local banking access leaders chosen as Bank On Fellows (pictured above). The national Bank On Fellowship Program provides funding, training, and intensive technical assistance to five Bank On coalitions to support a full-time staff position for two years - a "Fellow" - to lead local coalition activities. Five selected Fellows gathered in DC for a two-day intensive training, and have now begun leading local Bank On coalition efforts full-time in Atlanta, GA (Bank On Atlanta); Jackson, MS (Bank On Jackson); Milwaukee, WI (Bank On Greater Milwaukee); across the State of Maryland (Bank On Maryland); and the Oklahoma Native Region (Native Bank On ONAC). At the training, new Fellows were coached by our first cohort.

The Bank On initiative is supported by seed funder JPMorgan Chase Foundation. 

To learn more about Bank On, contact David Rothstein , Principal.
Earlier this month, the CFE Fund announced an additional $5 million in support from the Citi Foundation to provide thousands of low-income youth in cities across the country with summer jobs and access to financial education as part of Summer Jobs Connect in 2019. The CFE Fund and Citi Foundation also released a video highlighting the impact of Summer Jobs Connect, featuring Mayors from Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Miami, Chicago, and Newark.
The CFE Fund's national social media campaign, highlighting youth and partner voices on the impact of Summer Jobs, also launched this month – follow along on Twitter and Instagram using #SummerJobsConnect as Summer Jobs Connect participants share their experience working a summer job, earning a paycheck, using a bank or credit union account, and more! 

To learn more about the Summer Jobs Connect initiative, contact I-Hsing Sun , Chief Program Officer.
The CFE Fund’s CityStart initiative, with support from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation and other funders, helps local governments kick start municipally-led financial empowerment for their city.

Over the last several months, the CFE Fund has worked closely with its 10 CityStart local government partners in successfully completing intensive municipal financial empowerment bootcamps. Each local government partner is working to complete, or has already released, their financial empowerment blueprints. These blueprints outline each Mayoral administration’s public vision and action plan for integrating financial empowerment efforts within local government infrastructure, utilizing an array of financial empowerment strategies. Some are aiming to open an Office of Financial Empowerment to serve as a platform for overall efforts, some are focusing closely on a key municipal priority such as affordable housing, and some are planning to start by replicating existing programs such as the Financial Empowerment Center initiative. Cities continue to work with their local nonprofit and community organizations, philanthropic partners, and other key stakeholders to ensure that the final blueprint reflects broad community input across mayoral priorities. 

The CFE Fund recently closed its most recent competitive Request for Proposals for the next cohort of CityStart partners, and is excited to soon announce selected partners. Stay tuned!

To learn more about CityStart, contact  Tamara Lindsay , Principal.

With seed funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and additional support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the CFE Fund is working with Albuquerque, NM; Denver, CO; Nashville, TN; and Salt Lake City, UT on our Local Consumer Financial Protection Initiative . These partners are currently working with the CFE Fund to develop consumer complaint systems and build out offices of consumer financial protection within their local governments. 

Just this week, the CFE Fund hosted a national convening on local consumer financial protection, bringing together city and county governments as well as field experts to discuss the unique role that local government can play in creating a more transparent, fairer marketplace for residents. The convening featured a keynote conversation with Richard Cordray, Founding Former Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Additional panel sessions focused on building a new consumer protection field with local government partners, including perspectives from current CFE Fund partners on putting consumer protection tools into practice; strategies for volunteer mediation of complaints; and guidance from legal experts on designing consumer protection strategies.
To learn more about the Consumer Financial Protection Initiative, contact Kant Desai , Principal.
Guest Column:
The Municipal Connection to Bank On
In May, the CFE Fund hosted its biennial Bank On National Conference at Washington, DC’s Newseum. The lunchtime session featured Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta, GA; Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba of Jackson, MI; and Mayor Frank Scott Jr. of Little Rock, AK discussing the municipal connection to banking access and financial empowerment, moderated by JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s  Courtney Hodapp , Executive Director, Head, Office of Nonprofit Engagement. Below are excerpts from their remarks, edited for brevity and clarity.
Moderator: Why do you value financial empowerment and what do you say to people who don't consider it to be the purview of local government?

Mayor Bottoms: What we see in cities is that all issues are interrelated. They aren't stand-alone challenges - when we talk about crime or people's ability to become employable, so much of that has to do with access to resources. So part of it is making sure that all of our residents are equipped for success, that's part of our vision statement for Atlanta.

Mayor Scott : We are all in the business of economic viability and mobility – the foundation is financial empowerment. Little Rock represents a microcosm of the United States; we are both rural and urban at the same time. If we can get financial empowerment right, we can be a model for the entire nation.

Moderator : How is banking access a priority for your administration?
Mayor Lumumba: We are doing it through partnerships. For example, the Jackson United Way Capital Area has a full-time Bank On Fellow to support this work. When we talk about a dignity economy, an economy that focuses on inherent dignity of every person, we also have to think about people that not been given access or opportunity. Bank On can help people that don't come from positions of privilege and knowledge, the people that are usually most susceptible to being taken advantage of.  

Moderator : Can you share examples of strong financial institution partnerships?
Mayor Scott : For banks and credit unions thinking about getting involved in Bank On, it’s not only the right thing to do, and great for community development, but also great for profitability. You're identifying new clients, educating clients as they become bankable, and moving them from a consumer client to a potential commercial client. In Arkansas there is a partnership with First Security Bank, a very large statewide bank, and Our House, a homeless shelter with a workforce focus. What they are doing is marrying the two together — as homeless brothers and sisters are getting workforce education, getting new jobs, making sure they understand the value of a dollar and how to work with the bank - and therein lies new customers for First Security Bank.

Moderator : How do you put financial empowerment in context of different priorities?

Mayor Bottoms: We have tremendous progress happening in Atlanta, and our biggest challenge is ‘how do the legacy communities not get left behind?’ The conversation surrounding gentrification and how we make sure that our city is still affordable - what does it means for our communities to thrive when in many of the legacy communities, it is a very basic conversation on how do you get to the next pay check or open a bank account? We have to take really a 360 approach to community, and look at all the challenges facing the community. Job training, economic mobility, mental health services, basic health services, and access to quality transportation - it really is my hope that over the next few years we will start to make progress in those areas, but I think the most important thing that we have done in Atlanta is began to speak it and acknowledge it is an issue. 

Moderator : Any final reflections or closing thoughts?

Mayor Bottoms : We have the great privilege of being elected officials for four year terms, we have to do as much as we can and make sure that we have lasting impact, so if we don't get it all done, hopefully we have taken steps forward and next person can pick up the mantle. Most of us have term limits but you all in this room represent continuity. The work that you do is will last past any elected official's term. It is important that we hold all of our elected officials accountable to make sure that we have policies in place that are making differences in people's lives.
Mayor Lumumba : It is apparent to me what will change conditions for Mississippi is what we do for ourselves. There's no cavalry coming, right? So we have to be creative. We have to explore new opportunities. We have to be willing to learn and utilize collective genius. It is a moment that I think we will continue to learn from one another, but locally is where the true impact is.
Mayor Scott : When you're the Mayor, as my grandfather told me, your job is to catch the robbers, pick up the trash, and put out the fires. Anything else do you is because you love the people. There's always a need, always an opportunity to solve a problem. We are able as Mayors to really get at the ground level of problem solving and helping to build people, communities, and ultimately our entire state. 

News from the CFE Coaliton
Boston OFE provides Financial Inclusion in ASL
The Boston Tax Help Coalition will hold an ASL Asset Building Summit in partnership with Deaf Inc. this summer, providing financial inclusion services including credit building and banking access in American Sign Language to the deaf and hard of hearing community.

City of Lansing Receives National Grants
The City of Lansing was one of 10 cities selected for the  What Works Cities – Economic Mobility   project to implement Lansing’s SHAPE Continuum (a lifelong financial inclusion system for residents). Lansing was also selected  for the Cities Addressing Fines and Fees Equitably grant program through National League of Cities. Finally, Lansing received a  US Conference of Mayors Dollarwise Innovation Grant  to pilot a rewards program for Lansing SAVE child savings account families through Kroger grocery spending.

Nashville Reviews Municipal Fines and Fees
Nashville Mayor David Briley recently announced that the city is conducting a comprehensive assessment of the city’s criminal justice fines and fees, which will include recommendations to reduce the city’s reliance on criminal justice fines and fees and reduce financial barriers for residents.

New York City Campaign Encourages New Yorkers to “Be Real” About Student Loan Debt
This spring, the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs—recently renamed the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection— launched a public awareness campaign about student loan debt. The multilingual campaign, entitled “Be Real about Student Loans,” informs New Yorkers about their rights and responsibilities when it comes to student loans, including payment options and resources to aid decision-making; warns about predatory practices by some schools; and raises awareness about the NYC Financial Empowerment Centers. Visit for more information.

Philadelphia Examines Municipal Fines and Fees
The Philadelphia Office of Community Empowerment will host an event with City leaders and community members on Criminal Court Fines & Fees on July 19, co-sponsored by the Gittis Center for Clinical Legal Studies at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

San Francisco’s Kindergarten to College on PBS Newshour
San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment‘s Kindergarten to College Program was recently featured on PBS Newshour .

San Francisco OFE Releases Report on Student Loan Debt
Following New York City’s lead, the San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment recently released a report with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco on student loan debt and repayment in the Bay Area, which received extensive local media coverage, including on KQED public radio.

Current Grant Opportunities
Newly Released Resources
Bank On Coalition Playbook
Financial Empowerment "In the News"