Community Financial Centers Launches to Provide Financial Empowerment to Cleveland

Today, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress announced the launch of the Community Financial Centers to provide high quality, individualized financial planning and management services to people throughout greater Cleveland regardless of income. The service administered by Cleveland Neighborhood Progress in partnership with Charter One Bank, Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland, the City of Cleveland, Enterprise Community Partners, and Cuyahoga Community College with support from the Charter One Foundation, the Cities for Financial Empowerment, J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation, Woodforest National Bank and the United Way of Greater Cleveland among many other partners.

The service will launch a new, innovative approach to financial empowerment built around the premise that all residents regardless of income deserve the right to high quality financial coaching and counseling services. The CFC services focus on financial planning, budget management, savings, credit building and planning for the future. Community Financial Centers financial service managers work one-on-one with clients and offer guidance on issues such as prioritizing, managing and paying down debts, opening safe and affordable bank accounts, building healthy credit, creating budgeting and payment plans that facilitate savings and basic future planning.

“More than half of the adult population in the U.S. could benefit from better financial advice to improve their money management,” said Joel Ratner, CEO of Cleveland Neighborhood Progress. “By offering programs and services targeted to residents with different levels of financial knowledge in convenient settings such as their employer or neighborhood library, we feel that we can reach more people and make a real impact on their financial future.”

Cleveland Neighborhood Progress researched studies that show that people of all ages and incomes could benefit from improved financial management. A recent study showed that two in five U.S. adults gave themselves a C, D, or F on their knowledge of personal finance -- and more than 77 million Americans do not pay all of their bills on time.

The financial service managers will not be housed in one location, but rather will partner with employers through workplace programs and nonprofit organizations to advise people in the most convenient settings for them. The Cleveland Public Library is the first anchor institution to adopt the service for its more than 450 employees. 

Community Financial Centers will provide financial planning and management coaching and counseling services to people of all ages and incomes. The financial service managers and financial coaches have the experience and expertise to work with broad audiences from young professionals learning how to manage their new incomes and student loan debt as they enter the workforce, people who are trying to get out of debt, first time home buyers, and retirees trying to manage living on their retirement savings or a fixed income.

Funders include the City of Cleveland, Charter One/Citizens Financial Group, Saint Luke’s Foundation, Cuyahoga Community College, United Way of Greater Cleveland, JP Morgan Chase, Woodforest National Bank and Third Federal Foundation.

Joe DiRocco, president of Charter One and Citizens Commercial Banking, added, “At Charter One, we are committed to improving the lives of citizens in our community. We hope that other companies and organizations will join us as a partner to put financial empowerment in the reach of everyone.”

Information about accessing the financial advisors and the program is available at http://communityfinancialcenters.org/.

About Cleveland Neighborhood Progress

For more than 25 years, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress has been Cleveland’s leading community development funding intermediary, focused on investing in the revitalization of city neighborhoods. It is a private, nonprofit organization that works closely with the City of Cleveland, civic partners, foundations and corporations and its mission is to foster communities of choice and opportunity throughout Cleveland. Neighborhood Progress helps community development corporations to resourcefully configure neighborhoods to respond to the real needs of residents. Together, we generate big ideas, advocate for them, fund them and promote them.

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