Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Announces Expansion of Financial Empowerment Centers Across the City

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NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today announced the expansion of its network of NYC Financial Empowerment Centers, which offer free, professional one-on-one financial counseling. There are now more than double the number of Centers in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island and counseling in additional languages. DCWP now has 34 Centers in all five boroughs and nearly all counselors are bilingual, speaking English, Spanish, Russian, and Haitian Creole. Centers are open to anyone over the age of 18, who lives or works in NYC and counselors can help their clients tackle debt, save for the future, open a bank account, improve credit, navigate student loan debt, and much more.

“Since our Financial Empowerment Centers launched, they have helped thousands of New Yorkers become more financially secure – including me a few years ago when I was trying to balance my family budget while paying off student loans – but there are many more who can benefit from financial counseling and coaching. We’re proud to have reached so many people across the city and we are looking forward to serving even more,” said DCWP Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “Whether it is helping you reach a financial goal, opening a savings account or tackling debt, our financial counselors are here to help you with confidential one-on-one sessions, at no cost to New Yorkers.”

DCWP identified target neighborhoods with low-income, unbanked and/or underbanked households for the expansion where services are needed most. DCWP’s recent brief showed that 354,100 households (11.2 percent) have no bank account (unbanked) and another 689,000 households (21.8 percent) have a bank account but use alternative financial products for some banking needs (underbanked). The estimated number of unbanked and underbanked households are disproportionately in neighborhoods that have higher rates of vulnerable residents and residents struggling in other areas of financial health. The Bronx and Brooklyn, which will benefit from the largest increase in Centers, have the largest number of un- and underbanked households in NYC

NYC Financial Empowerment Centers have served more than 57,000 clients since 2009 and have conducted over 114,000 counseling sessions since first opening in 2008. Clients have reduced over $70 million in debt and increased their savings by $5.8 million. Anyone who lives or works in New York City can use the service, and there are no income or immigration status restrictions. Translation services are also available for clients who speak languages not spoken by the counselors.

In the coming months, DCWP will be launching a public awareness campaign to promote the new locations and the services and languages offered. The expansion of the Financial Empowerment Centers and the public awareness campaign are supported in part by Citi Community Development. New Yorkers can learn more about the Centers and book an appointment online at nyc.gov/TalkMoney or by calling 311. More than 30 sites are now open with several more opening in later this month.

To read more, visit nyc.gove