City, community partners launch Financial Empowerment Center, offering financial counseling as no cost public service
Mayor Greg Fischer today announced the grand opening of Louisville’s Financial Empowerment Center (FEC), in partnership with the Louisville Urban League and the national nonprofit Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund). The Louisville Financial Empowerment Center offers professional, one-on-one financial counseling as a free public service to Louisville residents.
At the Louisville FEC, professionally trained financial counselors will help residents with low and moderate incomes manage their finances, pay down debt, increase savings, establish and build credit, and access safe and affordable mainstream banking products.
According to Prosperity Now, nearly 20% of Louisville households have zero or negative net worth, meaning they owe more than they own, and 40% do not have sufficient savings to cover a financial emergency. Furthermore, Louisville households of color are disproportionately represented in these statistics. The Louisville FEC is a financial empowerment strategy with intentional partnership between Louisville Metro Government and the Louisville Urban League to address public health and racial wealth disparities.
“The Louisville FEC will serve as a critical missing piece in our city’s efforts to tackle systemic disparities among our residents in income, home ownership, generational wealth building, and access to credit,” said the Mayor. “To close the racial wealth gap, we must address several challenges facing our households of color by providing access to safe and affordable financial products and services, expand on opportunities to increase income and savings, and increase access to wealth building opportunities. When our residents are financially secure, they are in better positions to buy homes, support city businesses, and contribute to our local economy.”
First piloted in New York City under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2008, FECs across the country have worked with almost 133,000 clients, helping them reduce individual debt by over $192 million, and increasing their families’ savings by close to $38 million. In addition, a CFE Fund evaluation showed that this program works even for residents with very low incomes and other complex financial challenges. Louisville is one of several dozen local governments working to launch or have already launched a local FEC initiative.
“Local leaders know first-hand the connection between family financial stability and community financial stability – and this connection is especially important during the current crisis,” said Jonathan Mintz, President and CEO of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. “Mayor Greg Fischer and the City of Louisville are part of a growing national movement to bring free, high-quality financial counseling as a public service to their residents; we are proud to partner with Louisville Metro Government and the Louisville Urban League to help residents navigate the financial impact of COVID-19 and work towards a stronger financial future.”
Louisville’s FEC will have a central hub at the Urban League, located at 1535 W. Broadway, and counselors will also be located at various FEC partners sites to meet clients closer to home and where they already receive services. Virtual sessions will also be offered.
“We are proud to partner with the city to bring quality, free financial counseling to our community through the Financial Empowerment Center,” said Sadiqa Reynolds, President and CEO of Louisville Urban League. “Our new financial counselors are ready and excited to provide professional coaching to help set residents up for financial success for whatever goals they may have.”
At the core of the FEC model is the integration of counseling into other social services, such as housing and foreclosure prevention, workforce development, reentry from incarceration, benefits access, domestic violence services, and more. Louisville’s FEC has built a referral and engagement partnership network of more than 15 local nonprofit and service providers.
Louisville residents can make appointments with the Louisville FEC’s counselors by calling (502) 585-4622 to request their first appointment either in-person or virtually. Residents can have as many sessions as needed with the FEC’s financial counselors, all completely free of charge and completely confidential.
In its first year of operations, the Louisville FEC is supported by grant funding from the CFE Fund, with additional support from Louisville Metro Government, PNC Financial Services, Fifth Third Bank, the National League of Cities, and the National Disability Institute. Louisville Metro is currently working to secure funding for Year Two of FEC operations and to unlock a second year of matching implementation funds from the CFE Fund.
To learn how to become a partner or sponsor of the Louisville Financial Empowerment Center, please contact Ce Garrison, Louisville Metro Government FEC Program Manager, at (502) 574-5249 or [email protected] or visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/resilience-and-community-services/l….