ABOUT CFE COALITION
Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) brings together pioneering municipal governments from across the country that have begun
to use their power and positions to advance innovative financial empowerment initiatives. Already, our members have made tangible and measurable commitments to supporting financial empowerment programming
in their cities, and are now joining together to both teach and learn from one another.
By working with key partners in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, CFE also leverages its members’ collective power to advance the financial empowerment agenda on a state and national level.
In America, it is expensive to be poor. Too many people, even those with steady but lower incomes, are forced to turn to fringe products
and providers to meet their basic financial needs. For the tens of millions of people shut out of the financial mainstream, it costs more to pay bills and borrow money, it’s more difficult to avoid predatory loans and services,
and too easy to get mired in crippling debt. In this environment of financial instability, saving and building assets for a secure financial future becomes an unattainable dream.
Why Focus on "Financial Empowerment?"
“Financial Empowerment” describes a set of approaches designed to help families with low incomes stabilize their financial lives. Financial empowerment programs promote increasing income by decreasing expenses, reducing debt and encouraging savings. By teaching people to manage their money and avoid bad debt, creating real strategies for saving and asset building, and ensuring that everyone can access appropriate financial products and services, financial empowerment initiatives provide practical solutions which create real change in the lives of working families.
CFE is seeking to expand the vision of what municipal government can and should do on behalf of its residents with low and moderate incomes.
Traditionally, municipal governments have been expected to provide basic benefits and services, and to take steps to protect their residents from being cheated or defrauded. Until now, however, few have looked to their city
halls to take proactive steps to help their residents actually get ahead financially.
The member cities of CFE are swiftly turning those expectations on their head by creating bold, “in–house” financial empowerment agendas. It is clear that cities are uniquely poised to implement innovative and effective programs,
to create powerful partnerships, and to deliver forward-thinking services to the communities they serve every day. Cities have the ultimate ability to bring any number of key players to the same table – financial institutions,
community organizations, think tanks, other government agencies, and funders – and their unique bird’s eye perspective on the resources and challenges in their own communities allows them to develop and target the programs that work most effectively.
These opportunities, combined with the can-do mentality of local government, allow for tremendous gains for residents in need of financial empowerment.