The Future of Community Reinvestment Act Compliance

Since Congress signed the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) in 1977, financial institutions have had a legal obligation to provide banking access and education to communities—particularly underbanked communities—within their geographic footprint. That obligation has not changed over the years, but the communities, as well and the ways in which financial institutions meet their needs, has. This relationship will continue evolve alongside technology. Here’s what the CRA future has in store.

Download Our Guide the Evolving Bank Branch: A Look at Tomorrow’s Community, Technology, and CRA

Download Our Guide the Evolving Bank Branch: A Look at Tomorrow’s Community, Technology, and CRA

 

Streamlined evaluation process

Technology has offered companies unprecedented access to data—and that data is becoming easier to gather, sort, and transmit. This will allow for a much simpler evaluation process and, potentially, an automated data collection system that would make the reporting and compliance process easier and more transparent for both FIs and regulators.

Increased access to financial education

Financial education is crucial to successfully engaging with underbanked communities and helping young people become financially capable; for FIs, providing that education is becoming easier and more accessible as technology improves. Not only does greater education accessibility help FIs maintain CRA compliance, but as financial education service platforms become more personalized and customized, more data can be collected about individual learners. This will help FIs measure both the effectiveness of their programs and the financial wellness of their communities.

Greater focus on the the individual

Thanks to this increased ease of data collection, expect the requirements of the Community Reinvestment Act to become significantly more individualized in scope. With so much information about the individual available, it’s likely that financial capability will be determined by more than just a credit score. Instead, FIs can determine loan risks on a more individualized basis, allowing for a greater number of underbanked populations to qualify for services.

Data-driven processes and predictive analytics are already changing the playing field. In the future, expect these two factors to play an increased role in not only how CRA regulators evaluate compliance, but how FIs engage with the communities they serve as well.

To learn more about how FIs can meet and exceed Community Reinvestment Act requirements through technology and financial education, visit EverFi.com/FinancialEd.

3 Tips for Sharing Financial Education Over the Holidays

With all of the shopping, celebrations, and travel that accompany the holiday season, managing finances can be a concern for many people.  According to the National Retail Federation, the average person spends over $800 during the holidays, and that amount is forecasted to increase in 2016.

EverFi is here to help you educate and empower your customers, members and employees to take control of their spending habits and protect themselves from the heightened risk of consumer fraud that can take place during times of heavy spending.  Check out our tips below to get started on building out your holiday communication plan.

Tip 1: Start Planning

Building out a marketing and communication plan to support your program makes a significant difference in driving usage and engagement.  Think about ways you can share the financial education you have invested in with your customers and members before the end of the year.  EverFi is pleased to offer our partners a FREE Marketing Toolkit as part of your subscription. We hope you will use these resources to inspire new ideas and help you maximize the impact of your program.

Tip 2: Go Wide

Leverage all existing channels – including your website, email, newsletters and social media – to drive awareness of your financial education program.  Your marketing partners will likely be thrilled to have some new and interesting content to add to their communications.

Tip 3: Be Timely

Focus your communications around seasonally relevant content. Below are some ideas to get you started, simply click on each topic name to access our associated marketing toolkit resources. If you don’t currently feature one of these topics in your program, contact EverFi and we’ll work with you to come up with an alternate idea.
  • Credit Cards: 38.1% of all U.S. households2 own some sort of credit card debt, totaling more than $929 billion in total revolving debt across the country.  Learn more about the differences between credit and debit cards, varying payment terms, and how to choose and use credit cards responsibly.
  • Identity Protection: Consumer fraud is more common than you may think.  According to Business Wire, more than $15 billion was stolen from 13.1 million U.S. consumers in 2015 alone.  Don’t let yourself be the next victim!  Learn more about how to keep your personal and financial information secure and be aware of potential scams.
  • Mobile Payments: According to a recent study conducted on behalf of The Pew Charitable Trusts, 46% of U.S. consumers have made a mobile payment at least once.4 Do you know the benefits and risks of making payments with your mobile device?

Remember, each of our topics are specifically designed to accommodate today’s busy adult.  They are mobile and tablet accessible, available in both English and Spanish, and only 2-7 minutes in length.  Many courses also feature Action Plans with budgeting and planning tools to reinforce positive behavior and help users take positive steps toward better financial health.

Happy planning, and please reach out to us with any questions at info@everfi.com.

 

Sources:

  1. National Retail Federation
  2. Value Penguin
  3. Javelin Strategy and Research
  4. The PEW Charitable Trusts

 

Laying the Groundwork for Financial Capability

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently released a comprehensive report outlining a new teaching framework for educators and organizations to utilize as they create programs around building up youth financial capability. Many of the recommendations included in the report are considered education best practice and have long been a part of EverFi’s curriculum development model. Statistics from a recent EverFi study reveal that 9 out of 10 parents talk to their kids about personal finances, but only 43% of those parents feel prepared to do so, and that 66% of millennials cannot answer basic financial wellness questions. As such, the CFPB’s recommendations represent a monumental opportunity to impact change.

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Download Our Guide to Understanding Family Financial Capability

At EverFi, we have always operated from the belief that our goal is to shape financial habits and norms while also building financial knowledge and decision-making skills. Together these goals have been two of the most important and longstanding levers used to influence financial capability. Our elementary, middle, and high school courses use many of CFPB’s recommended teaching techniques to introduce and reinforce these important concepts. From simulation to personalized learning and gamification, our courses strive to engage and empower students to become financially capable adults.

While the CFPB also stresses executive function as an important building block to help youth achieve financial capability, we have learned at EverFi that this is not often something that can be influenced by supplemental programming. It’s true that executive functioning is a prerequisite to success in financial well-being, as it is in every domain of life; however, it is best developed through supportive and nurturing environments and positive socialization. To truly build executive function requires year-round programming that is integrated into multiple areas of the curriculum and a child’s home environment.130603_cfpb_mahaskey_605

The CFPB’s report also highlights the central role that parents and caregivers play in developing youth financial knowledge, attitudes, and decision-making abilities. Through both direct instruction and modeling healthy financial behavior, parents and caregivers can help children develop responsible habits when it comes to spending and saving.

EverFi is committed to providing adult learners with foundational financial knowledge. Our adult course is built on the same core pedagogical foundation as our K-12 offering, but has been adapted to the more complex needs of an adult learner.  It provides adult learners with personalized and interactive learning to drive behavior change. Strengthening the financial knowledge of adults in turn creates home and community environments that help students build healthy financial attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. This report validates EverFi’s future plan to develop a program specifically designed to help parents or caregivers speak with their children about finances, thus improving the executive function deemed important for youth financial capability.

Now is a pivotal time for financial institutions, government organizations, and technology companies to partner and empower teachers, parents and caregivers with the knowledge they need to develop students of all ages into financially responsible adults. We at EverFi are thrilled to share the CFPB’s commitment to this goal and look forward to our continued partnering with organizations to help achieve its recommendations.

Zach Wagner, Vice President, K-12 Content and Product Development
Julia McCombs, Vice President, Adult Content and Product Development

EverFi and CFPB Present Tips for Strengthening Financial Education Curriculum

Family Financial Capability White PaperNew EverFi research finds that 9 out of 10 parents are talking to their kids about money, but fewer than half of parents feel well prepared to have these conversations.

While parental education is an important piece of the equation, schools-based financial education is critical to filling in the gaps and ultimately preparing students for the decisions they’ll need to make as adults. But for many educators, the challenge of selecting the right financial education curriculum for their students can feel daunting, with a wide range of providers and few guidelines for how to identify the most promising programs.

To address this challenge, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has developed the Youth Financial Education Curriculum Review Tool, a resource for those who make decisions about educating today’s students. The tool provides an evidence-based framework for reviewing and comparing financial education curricula across four key dimensions: Content, Quality, Utility and Efficacy.

Earlier this spring, the CFPB hosted a webinar to unveil the curriculum review tool and invited EverFi to share how we’re using it to assess our K-12 financial education curricula. We were proud to report that our courses performed exceptionally well, receiving the highest possible score on the Content and Quality metrics, and strong results across other key dimensions.

For a recap of how EverFi’s K-12 courses performed,  view the full CFPB webinar recording: Evidence-Based Insights: Tips for Strengthening Financial Education Curriculum (or view a shorter recap here).

CFPB Webinar Thumbnail

The Curriculum Review Tool has also proven a valuable resource in helping inform future course improvements. For example, we are building supplemental materials to help teachers adapt lessons for students with cognitive or intellectual disabilities and expanding support for multilingual implementation.

On #FinHealthMatters Day, let’s focus on developing financial education solutions that will truly move the needle for students and families nationwide. We’re grateful to the CFPB for putting a stake in the ground and creating a yardstick by which we can measure programs – and progress – in the field.

Recognizing World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.  And while it’s a sunny June day here in Washington DC, the topic of Elder Financial Exploitation is a forecast of some very rough weather ahead.

The problem of financial exploitation of seniors is scary, and is getting scarier.  Today, there are 40 million Americans over the age of 65 — the largest in history, and the number will grow over the next ten years. According to the True Link Report on Elder Abuse, up to $36 billion (with a “b”) is lost by seniors in various forms of financial exploitation, and $17 billion of that is done through deceptive-but-legal tactics that are designed to promote financial mistakes by seniors.  Also, about half of the exploitation happens by other family members, which is disturbing and depressing.  The generation that is being scammed is especially vulnerable, since it is a polite generation (many do not want to hang up on phone scammers); trusting people (may fall prey to internet scams); and sometimes cognitively impaired (which can make someone especially helpless).  Sadly, there are literally call centers that are set up to scam seniors out of money, which can end up in horrifying results.

The CFPB recently posted guidelines and a report for financial institutions to help fight this problem.  The webinar they hosted on May 25 was a very helpful walkthrough of these guidelines.  Other government institutions are also paying more attention to this problem. It is clear to me that financial institutions are going to be a key defense for combating this problem.  However, not all financial institutions have quality resources available to them for their employees, older customers/members, and for adult caregivers of the elderly.  Many employees of financial institutions end up having three jobs: being a teller, a social worker, and a family counselor.  It is a lot to ask of them.

We are EverFi are working hard on this problem right now. Given the size and scope of this complex issue, it is clear that there will not be one single solution that eradicates this issue, but our goal is to make a big dent in it.  Just like our programs for adult financial education, we are going to partner with financial institutions, help them on the front lines, and get them the tools and resources they need.  I am so proud that we are taking on this terrifying, growing, and very personal issue.

To ‘celebrate’ World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, please take time to spread the word about Elder Financial Exploitation. Know that the storm is coming.  But also know that EverFi will be there to help you weather it.

EverFi and BB&T Congratulate Winners of the 2015-2016 BB&T Student Blog Contest

This past fall, EverFi proudly partnered with BB&T to launch a student blog contest to teachers and students across more than 800 high schools that use the BB&T Financial Foundations program in their classrooms. After students completed the financial education course, they had the opportunity to download and play BB&T’s web-based leadership app, LEGACY: A BB&T Leadership Challenge, and were invited to write a short essay on what leadership means to them.

BB&T Associate Cindi Shaddix presents winning student Tytiana with her award.

BB&T Associate Cindi Shaddix presents winning student Tytiana with her award.

We are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s blog contest! These four students demonstrated a deep understanding of what leadership means to them, and their thoughtful essays inspired all of us.

Tytiana, a student at Elite Scholars Academy in Georgia, shared her views on what it means to be an effective leader:

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you are a good leader. In the minds of some, being a leader is mainly focused on power, will, and fear. However through the LEGACY game I have learned that being a leader is a goal for the common man or woman who seeks change. Leaders have to be relatable to others. Being an effective leader is about learning to understand, having the patience to succeed, and being able to make the best decisions possible for you and others around you.”

Caleb, a student at Pasquotank County High School in North Carolina, shared his realization that leadership comes in a wide variety of forms:

Caleb, a student at Pasquotank County High School, receives his award

Caleb, a student at Pasquotank County High School, receives his award

“There are two sides of a good leader. There is a mental side and a social side. Before playing LEGACY: A Leadership Challenge, I tended to just focus toward the mental side. This means doing anything that they can to get the job done, hoping for a better future, repeating your good habits and eliminating your old. The mental side is very important. But the social side is just as important. To be a good leader, you must be able to communicate with people effectively. This is what I had to do in LEGACY. I had to communicate with the other characters in a kind yet straightforward way. This is what my father, the leader I look up to in my life, does very well. He was a worker at Lowes. He rarely took days off. He was a very social person. Customers tended to wait the extra minute or two just to be served by my dad, something that my whole family is very proud of. My father’s salary was diminutive compared to many other people in society, but he loved his job. That’s what put him above his counterparts. That’s what puts society’s great leaders above the rest. Their drive. Their willingness to work for what they want. That’s where I want to be.”

Lola, a student at Veterans High School in Georgia, wrote about how the LEGACY game expanded her view on what it means to be an effective leader:

Teacher Dana Burress alongside winning student Lola at Veterans High School

Teacher Dana Burress alongside winning student Lola at Veterans High School.

“My previous idea of a leader was a person who could wield authority; something like an army sergeant. While authority is a good leadership trait, another commonly overlooked trait a of good leader is tact. People are brought up with their own beliefs and ideas of right and wrong. To be an effective leader, one has to go about the right way of introducing your followers to another way of seeing or doing things — without demeaning what they already know. Being a leader is about so much more than possessing authority; it’s about using your influence to help better others. I can only be grateful that this has been brought to my attention early in life, giving me the opportunity to grow in this area and share my newfound knowledge with others.”

Eric, a student at West Forsyth High School in North Carolina, cited an example of a leader in his life who has inspired him:

“Leadership is a defining quality of an individual. A great leader incorporates a multitude of qualities such as being trustworthy, engaged, and empowering while consistently maintaining a positive outlook under intense stress and against all odds. I learned important leadership qualities over this year’s Academy of Finance summer internship from my mentor, Angus Reid. Everyday Mr. Reid organizes and communicates effectively with different clients, tenants, and workers in an elevated sense of respect, positivity, and initiative. His ability to adapt to each individual’s needs and respectfully delegate tasks make him a fantastic leader.”

Congratulations again to our four winners, who each received a $500 gift card. You all have a bright future ahead of you! And many thanks to the dedicated teachers who submitted these winning essays on behalf of their students.

 

EverFi Salutes Our Veterans

The EverFi team honors all our nation’s military servicemembers, and we’re proud to be a company comprised of strong veteran families.

While our nation’s heroes are out serving our country, we are committed to helping them protect their assets, build financial security, and manage important financial, legal, and personal matters over the course of their lives. This includes education and resources for military servicemembers as well as their families.

We also feel privileged to help many of our partners in their efforts to support the military community through an Employee Career Readiness course and digital programs that build awareness around military student loan benefits. 

The infographic below highlights some important tips to help military servicemembers manage their finances and legal matters before they deploy, while deployed, and during the transition to civilian life.

Military Financial Education Infographic

EverFi is committed to helping them manage important financial, legal, and personal matters over the course of their lives.

The National Report Card on Financial Literacy in High Schools: While Some States Fall Short, Innovation is Happening Everywhere

Last week, Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy released its National Report Card on State Efforts To Improve Financial Literacy in High Schools. This study evaluates the personal finance education efforts of each state based on their graduation requirements, academic standards, and regulations regarding how personal-finance courses are delivered in public high schools.

For a state to get an A, high school students must be required to take the equivalent of a half-year personal-finance course in order to graduate. Only 5 states — Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia and Utah — earned that distinction. Twelve states received Fs on the national report card, while the majority of states received Bs and Cs.Champlain_Report_MakingTheGrade2015

This study underscores the critical need to make financial education a national priority and affirms that state-legislated financial education standards are an important part of the equation. But HOW states operationalize those standards to connect with students is also a huge part of producing measurable results. The study suggests that only state actors can help solve this challenge, but through EverFi’s work with more than 1000 private-sector partners, we are demonstrating that innovation from the both the public and private sectors can have real impact.

At a national level, EverFi’s high school students are making great strides in all 50 states. Last year alone, our students’ knowledge of savings rose 75%; understanding credit scores rose by an average of 39%; and the number of students who now feel prepared to apply for financial aid to help reach their dream of college increased by 79%.

In the “A” states that mandate a half-year personal-finance course, our work is highly scaled. For example in Virginia, since the 2011 legislation became active, 96% of public high schools are now partnering with EverFi to reach over 178,000 students. Alabama did not enact state standards until 2013 when they created a new required ninth-grade class, but EverFi is already working in 43% of those Alabama high schools with great results.

As the report shares and we can verify, even in “lower ranked” states we are seeing pockets of excellence led by courageous Superintendents and Principals in districts across the country, State Treasurers, and private-sector partners who are driving financial education innovation for millions of students nationwide. These leaders understand that work and life demand real critical skills, including financial education.

To the 90,000 teachers across 20,000 schools that help us deliver critical financial literacy education to students, thank you for continuing to be on the front lines of this important work with us.

EverFi & Arizona State Treasurer Host Financial Literacy Roundtable for Advocates in the State

Urgency to address a critical skills gap in K-12 financial education was the theme for a spirited discussion led by Arizona State Treasurer Jeff DeWit and EverFi. On August 12th, EverFi and Treasurer DeWit hosted a roundtable discussion with community leaders on the importance of financial education in the state of Arizona.

It is my goal to improve the financial knowledge of all Arizona students,” said Treasurer DeWit.  “It is critical that education leaders, business leaders, and technology innovators, like EverFi, continue to collaborate to reach more students with critical skills education.

During the 2014-15 school year, EverFi reached 113 Arizona schools through its financial literacy programs and served over 8,000 students.  Students increased their knowledge in financial literacy topics by 85% after completing the course and felt more prepared to make financial decisions on their own.IMG_2040

Many Arizona community leaders joined Treasurer DeWit for the event including Phoenix Union High School District, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale Unified, Dysart Unified, Arizona Department of Education, and Arizona Charter School Association.

Tony Camp, Director of Career and Technical Education (CTE) for the Phoenix Union High School District, talked about the district’s integration of EverFi’s courses and the benefits they have seen.  He also invited several CTE students from Trevor Browne High School to share their experience with the program.

Rudy Lima, a 12th grade student at Trevor Browne High School, shared that I am grateful to have been exposed to EverFi’s financial education course in high school.  Before, I wasn’t confident I knew enough about my own finances, but now I feel more prepared to make important financial decisions as I enter my adult life.  I would encourage other students and teachers across the state to get involved with EverFi’s programs.

A Phoenix Union High School District 11th grade student explained how the program helped her to learn about the FAFSA so she could apply for financial aid when she was ready to go to college.  All of the students in attendance have plans to go to college and stated that the program helped them to understand their financial options.

EverFi and Treasurer DeWit plan to work on a continuation plan to keep the group engaged and actively involved in the advancement of financial education in the state.  For more information about the roundtable or EverFi’s programs in Arizona, please contact Jessica Golden, Arizona Schools Manager, at jgolden@everfi.com.

 

Why EverFi is a Proud Member of UK’s Big Blue Nation

There are many reasons to cheer for the Kentucky Wildcats this weekend in the NCAA Final Four. Maybe you hail from Kentucky or attended UK.  Or you could be in awe of the possible feat of completing an undefeated national championship season, and joining the ranks of the greatest college teams of all time.  You could admire the way Coach John Calipari has molded a group of blue chip All-Americans into a selfless, hard-working and cohesive unit that usually wins by doing the dirty work of playing suffocating defense.

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At EverFi, we’re rooting hard for Coach Cal, but it’s not just because of the accomplishments of his team.  For as much passion as Coach Cal brings to the court, he brings an equivalent level of commitment to supporting community programs off the court.  For the last three years, we’ve been proud to partner with Coach Cal and his family foundation in extending EverFi’s elementary school financial education program to schools across the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Through this partnership, I’ve personally learned how much Coach Cal cares about building empowered and responsible adults, as well as athletes on the court.  As strongly as he believes in playing the kind of defense that has made his squad 38-0 to date, he feels just as strongly about helping individuals be responsible with their finances.  While that might take the form of giving advice to some of his soon to be future NBA stars, it also extends much, much deeper than that into the communities and schools all across Kentucky.  Through a partnership with EverFi, the Calipari Family Foundation Financial Scholars program has impacted over 20,000 students in 150 Kentucky classrooms.

Hear more about Coach Cal’s focus on financial education directly from the guy you’ll see pacing the sidelines in Indianapolis this weekend:

View this video on Vimeo: Coach Calipari Discusses the Importance of Financial Education

From all of us at EverFi, GO CATS, GO!!!