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City of Philadelphia
 

Economic Security

Mission

Our mission is to provide leadership that strengthens and coordinates the City's anti-poverty efforts on behalf of its most vulnerable citizens and communities.

Vision

Our vision is a diverse, prosperous, and vibrant Philadelphia where all citizens are treated with dignity and respect — a city where the impacts of poverty are acknowledged and action is taken to support those most in need.

Too many Philadelphians struggle to stay current on loan and debt payments. In one of today’s modern ironies, it costs more to be poor.

Because low-income communities lack access to traditional banking services, they are driven to use costly and predatory check-cashing services, payday loans, or pawnshops. Because they live on the edge, they are more likely to be caught owing overdraft fees and other bank charges.

City residents acknowledge a need for more financial help and counseling. In a recent survey by the Philadelphia Federal Credit Union, large majorities of respondents said they were “not very successful” in maintaining a budget or controlling spending and “not very knowledgeable” about personal finance. According to the survey, 37 percent were unable to save “at all” in the past year and 37 percent said they were in “critical need” of improving their financial condition.

Strategies

This year, CEO and Financial Empowerment Centers will target programs that combine direct service, public awareness, and advocacy efforts to give Philadelphians more resources to manage their incomes, strengthen their economic security, and reduce their debt. It will expand the network of existing programs for community-based financial education to address consumers’ range of personal financial goals, from debt management and low-cost banking to saving for a home or paying college tuition. CEO will collaborate with credit unions, banks, and other private financial institutions to expand and promote the use of low- or no-cost transaction checking accounts. It will ensure referral to consumer credit counseling services from other public agencies and nonprofit providers, and promote financial tools that incentivize savings. CEO will increase public awareness of predatory lending and check-cashing practices.

Signs of Success

  1. Increased number of Philadelphians who open safe bank accounts and keep them for six months or more, establish credit, improve credit scores by 35 points, and increase savings by at least 2 percent of income or reduce debt by at least 10 percent.
  2. A plan to refer people receiving other supports, services, and benefits to financial education and consumer credit counseling services.
  3. Expanded availability of low- and no-cost checking accounts.
  4. Increased participation in incentive-based savings tools.

Contact Us

Mayor's Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity
1234 Market Street
16th Floor
Philadelphia, Pa. 19107

215-685-3600