Juneteenth is a memorable holiday for African Americans. It’s a time to recognize an often-painful history and celebrate African American culture and future possibilities. And it provides an opportunity to move forward towards accelerating equity, especially as it pertains to financial health. That’s why Our Money Matters is so pleased to be announcing one of our newest partnerships, The National Banking Community Alliance (NBCA), coinciding with the Juneteenth holiday. The NBCA is an initiative recently launched by the National Banking Association (NBA), which will provide programs and services to support Minority Depository Institutions (MDI) and the communities they serve. There are four pillars to this initiative, one of which focuses on financial wellness by delivering cutting-edge programs, training, and services to traditionally excluded and underserved households.
The Our Money Matters (OMM) online platform provides the foundation for the financial wellness pillar enabling users to increase their financial acumen. Each member bank has a customized version of the platform offered free of charge to their customers. The innovative program will enable users to discover their unique "money personality" so they can customize a plan that will work for them individually. Whether it’s learning how to effectively budget, take out a business loan, secure a mortgage, or save for retirement, the online platform makes it easy for users to work towards achieving their financial goals. As Sharon Kent, Program Director for Our Money Matters, states, “At OMM, we work primarily with HBCU/MSI students and community members around their campuses, but we are so pleased to be expanding our reach to an even broader audience through NBCA. Advancing financial wellness for minority stakeholders is one of the most significant steps we can take to achieve equity within the U.S.”
Nicole Elam, President, and CEO of the NBA, explains more about the mission, “With America’s attention focused on equity and inclusion, we want to drive long-term systemic change and impact policy. We want to work with corporations and policymakers to capitalize, modernize, and strengthen minority banks. You can’t close the racial wealth gap without them.”
The pandemic increased the racial wealth gap. But even before COVID-19, the discrepancies in household wealth between whites and minorities were staggering. A 2019 FDIC Survey of Consumer Finances showed that White families have the highest median and mean family wealth levels: $188,200 and $983,400. Black and Hispanic families' median and mean wealth is less than 15 percent of White families, at $24,100 and $142,500, respectively. The NBCA aims to change that.
In addition to the financial wellness platform, some of NBCA's other efforts will include; working with member banks to provide local impact scorecards highlighting opportunities in underserved communities, technical assistance, entrepreneurial and first-time homebuyer training and resources, and access to innovative capital and programs to acquire grow assets. NBCA and Our Money Matters are at the forefront of decreasing the racial wealth gap. And Juneteenth is the perfect time to celebrate this ground-breaking partnership geared towards helping more minorities achieve financial freedom.
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