SEATTLE (11/18/13)--Express CU, Seattle, is participating in a new program designed to alleviate poverty in Seattle by helping vulnerable consumers gain fundamental financial skills.
A $1.8 million grant from The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation will help launch six Financial Empowerment Centers in 2014, including a full-time central hub and five satellite locations throughout the Seattle. At the centers, clients will get free one-on-one financial coaching and lessons in financial know-how, such as paying down debt, increasing savings and improving credit.
Express CU, with $10 million in assets, will provide tellers for the empowerment centers, Sharon Hall, Express CU president/CEO told News Now Friday. The credit unions has provided community teller services to various city of Seattle social service agencies since 2009, she said.
The city of Seattle, which was the direct recipient of the grant from the Paul G. Allen Foundation, asked Express CU to provide teller services for the program, Hall said.
Low-income consumers will use the centers to build credit and clean up their financial histories, Hall said. "While they are there, they can have access to our products and services," Hall said. "We have products that help them build their credit, and we have savings accounts and unbundled checking accounts and other types of services that reduce financial barriers."
Express will be the only financial institution at the Seattle Financial Empowerment Center hub and satellite offices, Hall said.
The credit union will provide a full-time teller at the financial empowerment center hub and mobile tellers at the satellite centers.
Participation in the program reflects Express CU's commitment to serving the low-income members of the community, Hall said. Express CU is a community development financial institute and a low-income designated credit union--which means more than 50% of its membership is designated low income.
In October, Express CU received a Technical Assistance grant from the U.S. Treasury Department's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund. Technical Assistance awards can be used for purchasing equipment, paying salaries and benefits, and training staff and boards.
"We are fully committed with the support of the community," Hall said. "The community wants this to happen."