Results tagged as "citi community development"

  • Building from Scratch: A New Ecosystem for Chicago’s Small Businesses

    By Jonathan Brereton, CEO, Accion Chicago July 29, 2016 10:30 AM

    Nearly five years ago, the City of Chicago launched the Chicago Microlending Institute (CMI), a program established to train new lenders to make targeted loans to small businesses. For the first time, a city took action to directly invest in the creation of a more robust microfinance ecosystem that could deliver the financing needed by entrepreneurs to spur small business growth.

    After estimating an unfulfilled demand for nearly $28 million in microloans annually -- a funding gap that threatened jobs and economic stability in already vulnerable areas – CMI’s goal was to increase the capital access needed for small businesses to create jobs in communities that needed them most: the low-and-moderate income and communities of color on the south and west sides of Chicago.

    Since its establishment, more than 250 businesses have received loans from the CMI, for a total of $2.6 million, creating or preserving more than 1,000 jobs. Nearly 70 percent of those loans have gone to communities that have historically seen below- average lending activity. Just as importantly, more than 90 percent of those loans supported women and minority entrepreneurs.

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  • 100,000 Kids Later: Celebrating Citi’s Commitment to Youth Financial Empowerment

    By Will Howle, Head of U.S. Retail Banking, Bill Mills, CEO, North America, and Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Community Development June 28, 2016 01:00 PM

    A child with a savings account is four times more likely to graduate from college. That’s the difference a relationship with a financial institution can make. At Citi, we want to be that difference in a child’s life. And that’s why we’re an active member of the Teach Children to Save campaign.

    Teach Children to Save is the banking industry's largest volunteer effort to encourage youth savings. By visiting classrooms, youth centers, after-school programs and more, bankers use their real-world knowledge and professional skills to encourage kids to start young and save more.

    Citi colleagues have a special opportunity to reach out to young people and leverage our expertise as financial professionals to prepare young savers and their caretakers with the tools and knowledge to build strong financial futures. Financial literacy is the pathway to a college education and many other important opportunities, including homeownership and saving for retirement and emergencies.

    In our 16-year partnership with the American Bankers Association, Citi employees have reached over 100,000 young people through the Teach Children to Save initiative.

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  • Restoring Opportunity for the Long-Term Unemployed

    By Joe Carbone, President and CEO, The Workplace May 10, 2016 01:00 PM

    At first glance, employment in the U.S. appears to be on a slow and steady march of improvement. After reaching a high of 10 percent in 2010, the unemployment rate is now down to half of that amount– nearly reaching the 4.7 percent it was back in April 2006. But this promising trend obscures the ongoing struggles of those for whom being unemployed is in itself the biggest obstacle to finding another job.

    More than a quarter of all unemployed Americans – 2.2 million people, roughly the population of Houston, Texas – have been without a job for 27 weeks or more, and are considered “long-term unemployed.” These workers are predominantly older (ages 55+), and many have a career’s worth of marketable skills and achievements which ought to give them an advantage in their job search; but as the weeks go by, and the time gap since their last job grows wider, prospective employers begin to overlook them in favor of candidates – even less qualified candidates – who currently have jobs or are only recently unemployed. As despair and debt quickly begin to pile up, the consequences are often financially and psychologically devastating, both for the workers and their families.

    In 2011, we sought to take on this complex challenge by launching Platform to Employment (P2E) – a career readiness program which provides the long-term unemployed with the tools, resources and support they need to rejoin the workforce. Participants receive career coaching and professional skills training, such as resume-writing assistance and mock interviews. They gain access to free behavioral health services and, with support from Citi Community Development, receive financial counseling to overcome some of the challenges that result from long-term unemployment. Once participants complete the five week preparatory program, P2E helps participants find jobs with local employers. A dynamic element of the program is providing employers with a financial incentive to consider hiring participants. P2E offers employers an eight-week wage subsidy to cover a participant’s salary while they are given an opportunity to demonstrate they can do the job. Platform to Employment removes the perception of risk for employers, enabling them to evaluate the candidates fairly and without stigma.

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  • Citi and Miami-Dade: Investing in Inclusion

    By Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, Miami-Dade County, Florida April 12, 2016 09:00 AM

    Nearly one out of every five people who live in Miami-Dade County is an immigrant eligible for citizenship; but because of real and perceived legal, financial and informational hurdles, these individuals are missing out on the potential for higher earnings and access to vital resources for education and retirement.

    That’s nearly half a million people -- greater than the entire population of the City of Atlanta.

    Increasing immigrant integration in our county for those who are eligible will benefit families, their businesses, and both our local and national economies. Studies show that residents who naturalize see an average increase in earnings of between eight and eleven percent. If just half of all eligible residents became citizens, that could translate into a $3.2 billion boost in total earnings for Miami Dade residents. We also know that becoming a citizen opens up pathways for immigrants to stabilize their household finances and to build a stronger financial identity alongside their new national identity.

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  • Ventanilla de Asesoria Financiera: Building more financially inclusive cities for Mexican Immigrants

    By Ambassador Sandra Fuentes-Berain, Consul General of Mexico in New York March 28, 2016 02:00 PM

    Maria De Los Angeles Baez Rivera, a Mexican immigrant living in Queens, was in a very difficult place in October of 2014. Facing extreme financial hardship, she did not have a permanent home, and was constantly moving from place to place. She did not have a bank account, could not afford a mobile phone, and lacked the basic resources and stability necessary to obtain full-time employment.

    There are roughly 320,000 Mexican immigrants in New York City—a community roughly the size of Pittsburgh—many of whom are struggling with similar situations as Maria. In order to better understand the financial needs of this community, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) and Citi Community Development published the Immigrant Financial Services Study in April 2013. The study revealed that more than half of Mexican immigrants in New York City do not have a bank account because of perceived or structural obstacles to engaging with financial institutions—obstacles which are often rooted in language, cultural or informational barriers to trust.

    Mexican immigrants, like immigrants from many other countries, often have limited experiences with financial institutions in their new home. They worry about hidden fees, the security of their deposits or that authorities might take away their money. They are unfamiliar with tax benefits and are at times skeptical of programs that offer help.

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  • Empowering Women Entrepreneurs,
    From Dhaka to Queens

    By Andrea Jung, President and CEO, Grameen America March 11, 2016 02:45 PM

    Left to Right: Andrea Jung, President and CEO; Grameen America, Bob Annibale, Citi Community Development; and Professor Muhammad Yunus, Chairman & Founder of Grameen Bank and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize

    Eight years ago, Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus had a vision to bring his award-winning micro-lending model to the United States. As the founder of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, Professor Yunus was internationally acclaimed for demonstrating that lending small amounts of money to underserved women would provide them with the economic opportunity they needed to start businesses and escape the grips of poverty.

    To get the program off the ground in the U.S., Grameen America approached Citi as a thought partner, tapping into the firm’s expertise and international experience in microfinance. In 2008, with Citi’s support, Grameen America opened its first branch in Jackson Heights, Queens.

    Grameen America alleviates poverty for low-income women by providing them with small-dollar loans to support the creation of micro-enterprises, working in groups of five. For our members – more than 90% of whom are self-employed minorities living in underserved neighborhoods – a critical element of building and safeguarding capital is access to high-quality banking products and services. In addition to receiving support from Citi for our operations, we work closely with the bank to provide our members with savings accounts for which fees are waived.

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  • Listening to Mayors to Enable Progress in Cities

    By Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Community Development and Inclusive Finance January 20, 2016 10:15 AM

    Cities around the world are growing – and growing fast. For the first time in human history, more people live in urban areas than rural ones. In the United States, for example, 81 percent of Americans now live in urban locations, an increase of 12 percent since 2000.

    As hubs of innovation that serve as critical parts of our global economy, cities are magnets for talent, investment and trade from every corner of the world. It is why over 300 languages are spoken in New York City; why 44% of small businesses are owned by immigrants in Los Angeles; and why Chicago O’Hare Airport features direct flights to 210 cities around the world.

    However, as urbanization continues to accelerate, formidable new challenges are emerging. Infrastructure, equitable access to public services like transportation, household financial resiliency, and public safety have all become strained as more and more people make cities their home. Mayors are at the frontline of addressing these complex topics, yet they are rarely called upon to share their collective insights and perspectives. And we believe this is a missed opportunity.

    To bring together perspectives from mayors across the United States, we sponsored the inaugural 2015 Menino Survey of Mayors. The survey is named in honor of Thomas Menino, a visionary urban leader who served as Mayor of Boston for more than two decades, but sadly passed away in October of 2014. Over the past year, we have worked – in collaboration with the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Boston University’s Initiative on Cities – to take the pulse of U.S. mayors on contemporary issues through the largest and most comprehensive survey of its kind ever undertaken in the nation.

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  • Citi Banamex Financial Education: Ten Years and Ten Million Beneficiaries

    By Elena García Cano, Communications and Outreach Coordinator, Citi Banamex Financial Education August 21, 2015 01:00 PM

    Since 2005, more than ten million Mexicans have benefited from Banamex’s Financial Education program “Saber Cuenta” (Knowing Counts). The first comprehensive bank initiative for economic and financial education in Mexico, Banamex formed the program in response to an urgent need in a population that was underserved. Saber Cuenta’s mission is to assist the public, particularly the lower-income population, in developing skills and mindsets that will empower them to make smart personal financial decisions.

    I am proud to be part of the Saber Cuenta program, which helps those in need in three ways: improving personal and/or family finance, teaching entrepreneurship finance (for micro, small and medium enterprises) and providing institutional financial support for non-governmental organizations.

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  • A Plan to Increase Financial Access with New Technology

    By Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Community Development and Citi Microfinance October 01, 2014 02:17 PM

    Technology has increased access to education, healthcare, and instant communication. But it has yet to revolutionize access to financial services for low-income communities. Having adequate financial access not only impacts the economic potential of individuals, but also has an effect on the broader economy.
    Without access to appropriate tools and guidance, people face more difficulties when it comes to developing good credit, saving money, and building a secure financial future. Without such building blocks for economic growth, it is more challenging to buy a home, build a business, or send a child to college.

    This trend also allows costly and predatory alternative financial services, which target African Americans and Hispanics in particular, to thrive. That is why we need simple and responsible products that leverage technology to bring more people into the financial sector, and Citi Microfinance and Community Development are taking steps to change that.

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  • Expanding Financing Inclusion to the Underbanked

    By Elaina Jackson, Communications Director, Hope Enterprise Corporation September 18, 2014 05:36 PM

    This week the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) presented Hope Enterprise Corporation (HOPE) with the "Where We Bank Award" in recognition of HOPE's work to expand financial inclusion in the Mid South. The award, sponsored by Citi was presented during CFED's Assets Learning Conference in Washington DC.

    HOPE's service area (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee) is home to the highest rates of unbanked and underbanked households in the country. These conditions are particularly high among households of color. In Mississippi, where 37% of the population is African American, 31% of black households are unbanked compared to only 5% of white households. Research has documented the connection between having a banking relationship and acquiring assets, such as a car or home. However in Mississippi one out of three African American households do not have a checking or savings account - basic building blocks of economic security. These gaps - which are wider in the Mid South than anywhere else - are exacerbated by the fact that the Mid South is home to the highest concentration of persistently poor counties (counties where the poverty rate has exceeded 20% for three decades in a row) in the country.

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