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October 2014 Ohio CASH E-News

Posted by kwilliams on 10/08/2014

2014 Ohio CASH meetings

Join us at 11 a.m. on Thursday October 30 and Thursday December 10 for the next Ohio CASH Meetings. Topics coming soon!

CFED Update

The Corporation for Enterprise Development launched an Assets and Opportunity Local Data Center, featuring local data on family financial stability, searchable at the county and municipal level. Users can customize, print or share reports on Facebook or Twitter. Visit the Local Data Center here.

The September CFED Assets Learning Conference was packed full of workshops and speakers to help practitioners further the asset building movement. Ohio CASH members Lucy Crane of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, Suzanne Parks of the Ohio Community Development Corporation Association, and Kalitha Williams of Policy Matters Ohio met with members of Congress to share their programming and discuss family financial stability.

Cuyahoga County EITC Coalition Program Evaluation

Poliy Matters Ohio evaluated the Cuyahoga County Earned Income Tax Coalition’s free tax programs. The coalition of over 40 community partners helps thousands of low- to moderate-income families file their taxes each year. In the last tax season, the coalition served over 12,000 people, a 9 percent increase from the previous year. The evaluation found that nearly $15 million in refunds had been claimed and every dollar spent by the coalition brought $30 in state and federal refunds into the county. Read the full report here.

Ohio CDC Association Annual Conference

The Ohio CDC Association is having its 30th annual conference October 9-10, in Dayton. This year’s conference, “Reinventing Our Communities,” will feature Peter Kageyama, author of For the Love of Cities and co-founder of the Creative Cities Summit. Registration is still open here.

Payday Lending Update

During the CFED Assets Learning Conference congressional meetings, participants asked Congress members to support the Durbin-Cartwright bill “The Protecting Consumers from Unreasonable Credit Rates Act,” which would create a national interest rate cap of 36% APR for consumer financial products, including payday loans. Licensed payday lenders currently charge rates up to almost 800% in Ohio. Unfortunately, the legislation has no co-sponsors from Ohio. Several Ohio CASH partner organizations joined the sign-on letter distributed to Congressional offices. These included Coalition on Housing and Homelessness in Ohio (COHHIO), Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland, Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies, Ohio CDC Association, and Ohio Poverty Law Center. Read the full letter and press release here.

The Military Lending Act (MLA) was passed in 2007 to protect military personnel from abusive lending practices. One crucial provision creates a 36% interest rate limit on financial products. Unfortunately, payday lenders got around the law by creating products that differed slightly from those outlined in the MLA, and continued to charge high rates to service members. Recently, the Obama Administration proposed rules that would close the loopholes in MLA. Ohio CASH and COHHIO joined other consumer advocacy organizations around the nation to support the proposal. Read the Ohio press release here.

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Prize-Linked Savings Bill Passes the House

Posted by mlulion on 10/03/2014

On September 15, the American Savings Promotion Act (H.R. 3774) passed the United States House of Representatives! This legislation would clear the way for all interested financial institutions to offer prize-linked savings (PLS) products by removing federal barriers that currently prohibit banks and thrifts from offering them. The bill was sponsored by Representatives Kilmer (D-WA) and Cotton (R-Ark) and passed unanimously. Companion legislation, introduced by Senators Moran (R-KS) and Brown (D-OH), is currently awaiting action.

Source: D2D Fund September 2014 Newsletter

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3 Things Generation Y Needs to Consider About Retirement

Posted by mlulion on 10/03/2014

By Annie Cromwell, America Saves Communications Associate

A recent Gallup Poll named “not having enough money for retirement” as the top financial concern among Americans ages 18-65+. A number of employers are offering automatic retirement-savings in an attempt to lessen these fears and make savings automatic, often suggesting that new hires contribute 3% of their pay.

However, experts say that workers should contribute closer to 12%-15%, including both worker and employer contributions. But often that 3% employees contribute is not enough to receive an employer’s full 401(k) matching contribution.

Let’s say you are a young person, ages 18-34, and are having to consider and provide for all of your financial needs, possibly for the first time in your life, and contributing to a retirement savings plan seems too far off to even think about. But you know it is important…what should you do?

Consider These Things:

The earlier you start saving, the more money you gain from compound interest. Many of you might be looking to pay down large debts, invest more in stocks or even making a big purchase like a car or a wedding in the next year. Contributing to a retirement fund may be the furthest thing from your mind. But consider this: compounding is the exponential increase of an investment. So let’s say you put $4,000 in the bank and interest is paid 5% annually, the bank will give you $200 in interest for the first year. And if that $200 stays in your account, it will begin to earn interest too. If you begin early, think of all of the interest you could earn interest on!

No two savers are alike. You cannot compare the amount that a surgeon earns to a shampooer. And consequently, there is no uniform amount that everyone can/should put away for retirement savings. Consider how much you are earning, then consider your present financial situation (i.e. are you in debt, providing for a dependent, etc.) then adjust your savings accordingly.

Rest assured that your generation is doing just fine. According to the most recent Merrill Edge Report, 77%of people aged 18-34 are looking to grow their retirement nest egg. The report also found that Generation Y workers between the ages of 18 and 34, with an annual income of between $50,000 and $250,000, have saved an average of $55,000, and hope to save close to $2.5 million by retirement age! Also, many Generation Y workers began saving at an average age of 22, which is more than a decade earlier than the average baby boomer. We’re doing quite well, thank you!

Perhaps you think you have a lifetime before you’ll utilize your retirement funds, and that you’ll have almost as long to start saving; or maybe it’s too overwhelming a task and you’re unsure where to begin; or for some, you feel the amount you could contribute right now would be inconsequential, and better served financing your present needs. Remember, retirement is imminent and you need to save for it. With that in mind, it is also important to know that it is okay to start small, and if you free up some funds in your budget and make a plan you can look forward to a comfortable retirement too!

See more at:

Published: May 21, 2013

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Balancing Your Savigs Retirement vs. Everything Else

Posted by mlulion on 10/03/2014

By Kate Bryan

Should I save money or pay down debt? Should I pay for my child’s education or save for retirement? Should I pay down my student loans or build my savings? These are valid questions, as many of us have multiple savings and debt repayment goals to achieve at the same time. Figuring out how to prioritize them can be a struggle.

The good news is that in most cases, the answer to these questions is the same: DO BOTH. A recent Boston Globe article discussed savings strategies for every age and touched on situations where multiple goals commonly arise including:

Paying Down Student Debt vs. Saving for Retirement

Young and first-time workers may want to pay down their student debt as fast as possible. And paying down debt is a good thing. But, if these workers are not also saving for retirement, they are missing out on some of the most important years to save. Because of the miracle of compound interest, money saved for retirement in your 20’s grows more than money saved later. Contribute at least enough money to get a company match while you continue to pay at least the minimum payment on student loans.

Buying a House vs. Saving for Retirement

Workers in their 30’s and 40’s may be tempted to cash out their retirement saving accounts to buy their first home. But this could be detrimental to their retirement savings. Don’t touch your retirement savings to buy a home. Instead save a portion of your pay in addition to saving for retirement.

Saving for Your Childs College vs. Saving for Retirement

Parents want to provide the best for their children. Saving money for your child’s education will help them avoid taking out large loans they will need to pay back later. But don’t forgo retirement saving and only save for education. Research lower-cost schools, find free money for schools, and continue to save for retirement. Remember, you can apply for grants and scholarships – or take out student loans, if your savings doesn’t quite cover the costs - but these options are not available for retirement.

Get Started During National Save for Retirement Week, October 19-25, 2014

National Save for Retirement Week is an opportunity for employers to make employees aware of how critical it is to save now for their financial future, promote the benefits of saving for retirement, and encourage employees to take full advantage of their employer-sponsored plans by starting or increasing their contributions. Encourage your employer to participate and learn more at

Katie Bryan works for America Saves, managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA), which seeks to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. Learn more at

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Charlotte's Rise In Poverty

Posted by rlynch on 10/03/2014

Charlotte continues to become one of the most progressive cities in terms of economics and growth. Paralleling that growth is the continuing rise of poverty and the decline in opportunities for economic mobility for low-income families. Charlotte has been ranked last in economic mobility and the Business Insider currently reports The Queen City as third in highest poverty rates. These staggering results have provided legislators, local government, community leaders, and human service organizations such as Crisis Assistance Ministry and Goodwill of Southern Piedmont the opportunity to come together and seek solutions to alleviate poverty in Mecklenburg County.

These organizations are seeking to create effective community strategies, partnerships, and innovative uses of technology to streamline and simplify the connection of resources to communities in need. According to Carol Hardison, Executive Director at Crisis Assistance Ministry, we must, “create a community where people can overcome financial crisis without falling into the cycle of chronic poverty and dependency.” Furthermore we must create solutions to reduce the poverty rate in Mecklenburg County in order to counteract the strategies that limit the economic mobility of our citizens.

To read Carol Hardison’s letters to the Editor of the Charlotte Observer about taking a stand please, CLICK HERE

To see solutions and strategies organizations are currently using to combat poverty please, CLICK HERE

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2014-2015 Issues Supported by UWBEC & CASH

Posted by klyons on 10/02/2014

Providing people with support to meet their basic daily needs allows them to focus on important priorities that lead to long-term stability and a stronger community. This includes addressing financial crises; providing for their families through employment; and securing and maintaining assets. United Way of Buffalo & Erie County (UWBEC) is committed to ensuring that individuals and families move towards greater economic self-sufficiency.


NYS Asset Limit for TANF Eligibility: UWBEC and CASH support changes to the NYS asset limit for TANF Eligibility. Policies designed to assist low-income families, such as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) currently penalize low-income families who have accumulated assets (e.g. car, house, or savings). Options include increasing the limit, eliminating it entirely, or excluding certain classes of assets like retirement savings, college savings and Individual Development Accounts from the asset test.

NYS Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): UWBEC and CASH support an increase in the NYS Earned Income Tax Credit. EITC boosts the effective wages of low-income workers and ensures that hard-working individuals and families will not have to live in poverty, particularly if working in jobs unable to offer a living wage. An increase in NYS EITC will not only reward the hard work of low-income families but also contribute to economic growth in local communities where dollars are spent.

Public Transit Accessibility: UWBEC and CASH support policies, investments, and initiatives that improve the availability and accessibility of public transit in Buffalo and Erie County. Local transit authorities are consistently threatened with insufficient financial resources, which translate into service cutbacks and route elimination. Enhanced public transit systems improve public health, expand access to living wage employment opportunities, reduce expenditures on education-related transportation, and support overall economic development.

Safe and Affordable Housing: UWBEC and CASH make and support strategic investments in initiatives that increase the availability and accessibility of safe and affordable housing in New York State. Locally, only 67% of housing units in Erie County and about 55% of housing units in the City of Buffalo are considered to be affordable. Erie County also has some of the highest childhood blood lead levels in New York State. Improving the quality and affordability of housing can have significant impacts on household financial stability, health outcomes, and school-age educational attainment.

Safety Net Programs: UWBEC and CASH make and support strategic investments in the availability and accessibility of safety net assistance and other basic needs programs that improve quality-of-life. These programs provide vital and temporary relief for low-income families struggling to secure food, utilities, or health care. Examples include but are not limited to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP); the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program; and general Safety Net Assistance (SNA).

Workforce Development System: UWBEC and CASH support initiatives that introduce more consistent and higher performance standards for training programs, expand skills-based and language education, and increase the availability of workforce development programs. Such changes will allow currently underemployed and unemployed New Yorkers to be better prepared for jobs that will remain in demand over the next decade. These efforts have the potential to address long-standing concerns about unemployment, employment opportunities offering living wages, and local economic development.

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Office of Financial Inclusion Launches in Chicago

Posted by lmullany on 10/02/2014

September 10, 2014

On September 10, Chicago City Treasurer Stephanie Neely, launched the new Office of Financial Inclusion (OFI). The launch event took place at Instituto del Progreso Latino and included community partners, financial institutions, and other community stakeholders.

The office will provide resources for Chicagoans at all stages of life – kids, youth, adults and seniors. The website offers a number of resources, including a “Services Locator” – a search engine where Chicagoans can search for local services by typing an address into the website. Services include: financial education, credit counseling, housing counseling, workforce development, tax preparation and micro-lending for small businesses.

One focus of OFI will be to enhance opportunities for Chicago residents to access credit counseling and credit building opportunities. Tomorrow, September 11th, they will host their first event on the topic - Credit is an Asset. The one-day interactive training is designed to help service providers understand credit building, develop tools to build credit programs, and discuss best practices.

Robert Annibale, Global Director of Citi Community Development, spoke about the need for this work in Chicago sharing that "1 in 3 Chicago residents have no or a low credit score which leaves them outside of the financial mainstream." Citi Community Development is providing an innovation grant to support OFI and its signature initiative focused on credit building and financial coaching.

Treasurer Neely will join us at the IABG Conference on October 8th & 9th to welcome attendees to Chicago and share more information about OFI. Check out the full agenda and register before the early bird registration deadline on September 24th.

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Tackling our Imagination Challenge: Takeaways from the CFED Assets Learning Conference

Posted by tedwards on 10/01/2014

Every two years, our partners at CFED (the Corporation for Enterprise Development) host a conference in Washington, D.C. for those who are passionate about expanding economic opportunity in the United States. This conference, the Assets Learning Conference (ALC), took place September 17-19, and brought together over 1,200 asset-building advocates from 48 states. As the Lead State Organization in Arkansas for CFED’s Assets and Opportunity Network, Southern was eager and proud to be in attendance.

In giving the State of the Field address at the ALC, Andrea Levere, President of CFED, stated “the financial and economic status of our country can be defined by three words: inequality, insecurity, and immobility.” She added the U.S. is ranked third from the bottom in economic mobility of developed nations – 65 percent of Americans born in the bottom income quintile stay there for the rest of their lives. Many sobering statistics by pioneers in the asset-building field followed Andrea’s first speech in the subsequent days. Yet, in spite of the many challenges lying ahead due to inequality, insecurity, and immobility, there was a great, palpable feeling of hope throughout conference because of the hundreds of people present passionate and committed to reversing the tide on the economic problems we face.

To illustrate some of the pressing issues of our time, and bring some encouragement on how to address them, below are several quotes taken from asset-building leaders during the ALC. Following the quotes are two notes: what Southern is doing to create economic opportunity, and what Arkansas and Mississippi can do to enable prosperity for their residents.

“Half of the people in the country do not have access to a 401(k) plan.” – Michael Sherraden, Professor at Center for Social Development, Washington University in St. Louis (founding father of IDAs)

  • How Southern is creating economic opportunity: Southern offers a variety of savings accounts, including Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). A matched 401(k) plan is also available to all Southern employees after one year of employment.
  • What Arkansas and Mississippi can do to enable prosperity: While neither state can mandate that every employer offer a 401(k) plan, they can advertise for increased savings through other means such as having emergency savings and/or opening a U.S. Department of the Treasury myRA to help with financial stability during retirement.

“Lack of income means you don’t get by; lack of assets means you don’t get ahead.” – Ray Boshara, Director of Center on Household Financial Stability, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

  • How Southern is creating economic opportunity: By offering IDAs, Southern helps low-to-moderate income individuals save for assets, such as starting a business, buying or fixing a home, and paying for post-secondary education.
  • What Arkansas and Mississippi can do to enable prosperity: For most low-to-moderate income folks, saving can be challenging due to limited resources. Arkansas and Mississippi can increase the overall median household income in their states by raising the minimum wage. Further, they can ensure asset-prevention policies, such as asset limits, and asset-stripping businesses, such as payday lenders, do not deter Arkansans and Mississippians from reaching financial stability.

“I saw child savings accounts (CSAs) as a way to expand economic opportunity because I’m a mom.” – Tishaura Jones, St. Louis Treasurer

  • How Southern is creating economic opportunity: Southern is one of the partners involved in the Mississippi College Savings Account Program, which was developed and administered by the Center for Community and Economic Development at Delta State University (CCED) and the Mississippi Community Financial Access Coalition (MCFAC). Presently, over 600 children’s savings accounts have been established through the program.[i] Further, Southern also participates in the Save for America program, opening savings accounts specifically for post-secondary education.
  • What Arkansas and Mississippi can do to enable prosperity: Both Arkansas and Mississippi currently offer 529 savings plans, yet less than 5 percent of Arkansas and Mississippi children are set-up as the beneficiary.[ii] By modeling after states such as Colorado, Maine, Hawaii, and Nevada, Arkansas and Mississippi could implement a statewide CSA program administered through a state agency to help increase each state’s rate of post-secondary educational attainment.

“The scarcity low-income people feel is not just a juggle of income; it’s a juggle of mental resources.” – Eldar Shafir, Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton University, author of Scarcity

  • How Southern is creating economic opportunity: Southern offers personalized credit counseling to help clients get and stay on a responsible financial path. Through counseling, clients are then able to make sound financial decisions for their families and attain economic security.
  • What Arkansas and Mississippi can do to enable prosperity: Both Arkansas and Mississippi should require financial education as a requirement for graduating high school. A growing body of research has revealed that financial education in schools can have a significant impact on encouraging healthy financial behaviors later in life.[iii]

“The first step to asset-building is access to responsible financial services.” – Nikki Foster, Program Officer at Northwest Area Foundation

  • How Southern is creating economic opportunity: As a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), Southern’s mission is to provide affordable and accessible capital through a variety of financial products, especially in rural and underserved markets.
  • What Arkansas and Mississippi can do to enable prosperity: Since many of the communities in Arkansas and Mississippi are classified as rural and underserved, both states should incentivize their CDFIs to ensure the availability of responsible financial services in those markets.

To learn more about our efforts to create economic opportunities for people in rural communities, we invite you to contact Meredith Covington, Policy & Communications Manager, at

[i] Covington, M., & Edwards, T. (2014). Evaluating college savings plans: A case study on Arkansas and Mississippi. Southern Bancorp Community Partners. Little Rock, AR. Available at

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Gutter, M. (2009). Financial capability of college students from states with varying financial education policies. National Endowment for Financial Education. Available at

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SB 896: A Special Policy Briefing

Posted by tararobinson on 09/24/2014

Tags: sb896, credit building, asset building, policy, california, law, mission asset fund

Mission Asset Fund warmly invites you to our SB 896 Policy Briefing webinar on Monday, September 29 at 10:00 AM PST. MAF’s CEO, Jose Quinonez, will lead the discussion on the historic passing of California’s SB 896 from its initial conception to finally becoming law on August 15th, 2014.

This event is open for all nonprofit staff, policy advocates, and anyone interested in advancing the financial advocacy and asset-building fields. With this law, credit-building becomes the next frontier for asset-based policy.

This is a momentous occasion for us, but an even bigger moment for the asset-building field

On August 15th, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 896 into law, making California the first state to regulate and recognize credit-building as a vehicle for good. We will be talking about how MAF and it’s supporters worked to get this new law written, supported, and signed into law.

We encourage you to check out our SB 896 fact sheet prior to the webinar and be ready with questions!

Our discussion will cover the barriers we faced in creating the law, the vital support we received from our partners and community leaders to create momentum for this significant legislation. Finally, we will dive into how SB 896 will pave the way for more hardworking people to access 0% credit-building loans.

Register now and join us!

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Building Platforms for Prosperity on Capitol Hill

Posted by dthomas on 09/22/2014

To increase asset acquisition for low-wealth Hoosier families and to strengthen our local economies in Indiana, the Institute (along with Indiana Association for Community and Economic Development and Local Initiative Support Coalition) co-leads the Indiana Asset & Opportunity Network (Indiana A&O Network).

This week, the Indiana A&O Network is participating in CFED's Asset Learning Conference in Washington D.C. where we've had the opportunity to learn more about "building platforms for prosperity".

During this conference, CFED also released - along with Community Development @ CITI - their Assets & Opportunity Local Data Center (a brand new tool to measure financial vulnerability in cities and counties across the nation). With this data, we now know that in Indy, for example, 30.8% are asset poor, 44.7% are liquid asset poor, 14.3% are unbanked and 25.6% are underbanked.

We're also thankful for the time Representative Todd Young, Senator Joe Donnelly and Senator Dan Coats have set aside for us to discuss A&O Network's federal policy agenda to complement our policy goals back home in Indiana.

We'll talk to all of them about the critical role federal tax policy plays in promoting financial security and economic opportunity, highlighting CFED's latest report: From Upside Down to Right Side Up - Redeploying $540 Billion in Federal Spending to Help All Americans Save, Invest, and Build Wealth.

The report highlights that while "the federal government spends $540 billion (in 2013 alone) on tax programs to boost savings, investments and wealth....most of these programs are Upside Down". According to the authors, this means that "households in the top 1% receive more than a quarter of all support from these programs - more than the entire bottom 80% combined." To turn this "upside-down spending right side-side up", the paper features policy proposals "so that all Americans can save, invest, and build wealth."

In addition, to complement positive wealth-building efforts in Indiana, we'll:

Ask Senator Donnelly and Senator Coats to support the Senate companion bill for the American Savings Promotion Act, which allows expansion of Prize Linked Savings. The Act passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support this week. When Governor Pence signed HEA-1235 in 2014, Indiana joined a handful of states that allow credit unions to offer this innovative savings tool. Senate passage would complement Indiana's efforts by expanding access to banks.

We'll also ask each of them to support the Protecting Consumers from Unreasonable Credit Rates Act of 2013 to reduce the costs for small-dollar credit to 36% APR. According to the Center for Responsible Lending, "payday lenders create a multi-billion dollar debt trap and aggressively market payday loans as a way to meet a one-time need but specifically designed to force borrowers to take out loan, after loan, after loan at an average interest rate of nearly 400%." Their research finds that: the typical borrower is stuck in 9 loans per year; 75% of payday loans come from borrowers with 10 or more loans per year, and; a typical borrower with 10 loans in a year paid $458 in interest alone to borrow $350.

Ask Representative Young to co-author bipartisan legislation to exempt college savings programs - such as 529's and Children's Savings Accounts - from asset tests. Research shows that students who have savings are four times more likely to graduate college. Yet, asset limits act as a disincentive to college savings program participation by forcing families "to choose between saving money for college and putting food on the table." This common-sense legislation would allow all families to save for higher education and complement Indiana's post-secondary completion efforts.

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