Financial Opportunity

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32,000

Number of Austin households that are unbanked.

$230 – $980

Amount of money the average unbanked family spends on check-cashing fees each year.

36%

Percentage of Austinites that have incomes below $25,000/year.

Keeping families strong

Our Financial Opportunity programs empower working poor families and individuals with the knowledge and tools to become financially stable.

Bank On Central Texas and Learn Where You Earn are programs that assist the working poor in overcoming economic barriers by creating access to affordable financial resources and financial education.

Bank On Central Texas

Bank On Central Texas is a community initiative led by UWATX to bring together financial institutions, service providers, government, private sector and community organizations to bring more people into the financial mainstream through banking.

The goal of Bank On Central Texas is to give the un-banked and under-banked access to free or low-cost bank accounts to prevent dependency on  check-cashers.  By avoiding check cashing fees, families are able to keep their hard-earned money, and use it for basic needs, saving for education and emergency funds.

Bank On Central Texas is built on five core components:
  • Creating public awareness on the importance of being “banked”
  • Creating access to financial products and services for the un- and under-banked
  • Providing high-quality financial education programs through partner organizations
  • Incubating and testing innovative need-based products targeted to the un- and under-banked
  • Promoting public policy that protects people from predatory lending.

Learn Where You Earn

UWATX launched Learn Where You Earn in 2012. Learn Where You Earn provides financial education classes for low-income employees in their workplace. Employees learn how to create and use budgets, manage checking accounts, access their credit score, repair credit, pay off debt, and save for the future. Learn Where You Earn engages employers in the financial success of their employees.

Benefits for businesses:
  • An increase in worker productivity
  • Decreased absenteeism
  • A decrease in wages garnished (a cost to payroll)
  • Employees are less likely to take time off to handle personal financial emergencies
  • Employees are less distracted by this element of stress in their lives
Benefits for employees:
  • Fewer bills paid late
  • Use of automatic bill payment instead of payday lenders (which can lead to a destructive debt cycle)
  • Money balances, 401(K) plans and individuals retirement accounts increase
  • Less distractions from this element of stress in their lives
  • Every hour of financial education eliminates three hours of an employee worrying about money

Workplaces provide time and space for hosting the three workshop series.  Employees will also have access to free financial coaching to address personal financial issues.