Banking Access

A household’s ability to save depends on several factors: minimizing costs for basic goods and services, access to convenient, low-cost financial products and structures (transaction, saving, credit and insurance products as well as direct deposit, automatic enrollment, etc.), and financial capability related to money management, financial products and credit.  Checking and savings accounts are the basic building blocks for participating in the financial mainstream.

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Financial Education and Counseling

City governments work with private sector, state and federal government and community partners to help residents build their financial knowledge, better navigate complex financial products and system, and to generally improve their financial behavior and condition through quality financial education and counseling.

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Asset Building

Stabilizing and maximizing income is a critical step toward financial security and economic opportunity. Without sufficient income, families do not have the wherewithal to meet basic needs, let alone save for the future. For many low-wage workers, however, employment can be unstable and earnings unpredictable. Wages for jobs that are available to those without post-secondary education have stagnated over the past several decades. As a result, many are forced to incur debt just to finance basic needs.

Champions of asset building and financial empowerment are utilizing technology, creating new and leveraging existing physical access points, and launching public awareness campaigns to connect residents to the full range of benefits, work supports and tax credits for which they are eligible.

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Consumer Protection

Municipalities have unique and powerful opportunities to help protect their residents’ assets from those who would seek to take advantage of financial instability or otherwise diminish hard-fought gains made through asset building strategies. While local regulatory environments vary, local government bodies possess an array of consumer protection tools including industry-based licensing, other regulatory enforcement, zoning and other land use options, municipal deposits, taxation, and budget decisions.

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