October is an exciting month for the Mayor’s Office of Financial Empowerment! In addition to our usual work this time of year getting ready for our VITA tax programs, we are preparing to host the Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Coalition, which is convening in Boston from October 25-27, 2017.  Founded by former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, the CFE Coalition is a nonprofit that works to improve the financial stability of low-and-moderate income households through municipal government.  Boston was selected to become a member city of the Coalition in 2015 due to Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s commitment to addressing Boston’s income inequity, and OFE has benefited from the Coalition’s technical assistance and support.

Mayor Walsh will officially welcome the CFE Coalition and representatives from the cities of Chicago, Hawai’i County, Lansing, Los Angeles, Louisville, Miami, Nashville, New York, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Francisco, Savannah, Seattle, St. Louis at Boston City Hall on Wednesday, October 25th at 9:30 am.   In addition, he will launch Boston Builds Credit and announce Bank On Boston to a group including out of town guests, community partners, and residents.

Boston Builds Credit, led by the OFE along with United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley and Boston LISC, is an innovative new program aimed at helping residents improve their credit scores through free financial education and one-on-one coaching. The program will be launched in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, and will expand to Dorchester and Mattapan in the following years. We are launching Boston Builds Credit because one of the most effective ways to improve your finances is by reaching a prime credit score – 660 or above.   Good credit opens doors to housing, jobs, affordable loans, and more, yet one-third of Bostonians either have a subprime score or no score at all, which is holding them back.   We appreciate the support of Citi Community Development, Bank of America, and Capital One on this project.

Bank On Boston is a new city-led program to connect residents with reliable, non-predatory financial products and services that can help them save, grow, and access their money.  Many Bostonians rely on costly alternative financial services, such as check-cashing and payday loans.  Bank On Boston will identify local financial products and services that meet “safe banking” standards, known as Bank On Certified Accounts. Bank On Certified Accounts must be low-cost or no-cost, easy to use, and safe.  Bank On Boston is part of a nationwide movement of Bank On programs led by the Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund.

If you would like to attend the launch event on October 25th, please contact us by Monday, October 23rd.  And please stay tuned for more information on the above programs.