Results tagged as "community development"

  • EARN, Citi Community Development and the Microsavings Solution

    By Leigh Phillips, Chief Executive, EARN October 05, 2016 01:00 PM

    Saving money is an act of hope – and pragmatism– for tomorrow.

    Saving money means planning for the best, while being prepared for the worst.

    Too many families in America, however, when considering whether to buy a home or save for a child’s college education, lack access to the right tools and support to start saving, build a financial buffer against the unexpected, and invest in the future.

    According to the Federal Reserve Bank, approximately one of every two American households are considered “financially fragile,” a status defined by being unable to cover an unexpected $400 expense without going into debt.

    EARN -- a national nonprofit helping working families achieve prosperity through savings – is working to address that widespread challenge by connecting low-income families with savings solutions. Our clients are 90% people of color, 76% women, and earn on average $21,000 a year.

    Over the past 15 years, our programs have helped more than 6,500 low-income families in California save $7 million of their own money. As we plan for the next 15 years, we have our sights set higher. EARN is pioneering a new approach to savings that leverages technology to provide a range of flexible solutions. Citi’s support has been critical – and will continue to be — to achieve these results.

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  • Interise: Enabling Small Businesses to Grow

    By Jean Horstman, Chief Executive, Interise September 20, 2016 12:30 PM

    Small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all U.S. employers. That’s why when small businesses thrive, our economy and communities thrive.

    Yet 96 percent of small businesses fail in the first 10 years of operation.

    We need to resolve this shortfall to create more jobs, strengthen cities’ local economies, and create more diversity among successful business owners.

    That’s why Interise developed the StreetWise ‘MBA'™, an intensive, hands-on, 13-week mini MBA program to help small business owners with demonstrated potential survive that hazardous and critical start-up phase. CEOs who have themselves achieved early business growth and are motivated to build their own business skills and their network of peer entrepreneurs act as advisors to the program and its participants.

    StreetWise ‘MBA'™ entrepreneurs graduate with a three-year strategic growth action plan and the tools, peer and professional networks needed to implement it. In addition, after completing the program small business owners find themselves far better equipped to successfully bid on contracts with government and anchor institutions.

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  • Celebrating 2 Years of Cities for Citizenship

    By Eileen Auld, New York Tri-State Market Manager, Citi Community Development September 14, 2016 10:00 AM

    About two years ago, Bob Annibale, Global Director of Citi Community Development, and I met with Nisha Agarwal, Commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, to discuss an innovative idea to advance financial inclusion in America’s cities: Cities for Citizenship.

    At the time, we were collaborating on a New York-focused program that connected eligible immigrants to naturalization resources through their public-school aged children. But we wanted to think even more broadly, because the stakes across the country are high.

    There are almost 9 million immigrants eligible to naturalize today, more than half of whom are living on low incomes. But due to financial, legal and language barriers, they have not become citizens. Their situation is limiting economic opportunities not just for them but for their families and the cities where they live. Foreign-born residents who naturalize see up to an eleven percent boost in personal incomes due to access to better jobs, social benefits and educational opportunities. Naturalized citizens are also over four times more likely to have a bank account than non-citizens, providing them with financial security and the ability to more fully participate in the economy. The U.S. is missing out on billions of dollars in tax revenues and earnings due to this naturalization gap. For example, if all eligible immigrants naturalized in Los Angeles, tax revenues would increase by $364 million dollars.

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  • Mission Transition: Citi and Military.com Team Up on New Mobile App for Servicemembers and Families

    By Ruth Christopherson, Senior Vice President, Citi Community Development and Citi Salutes, Retired Colonel, U.S. Air National Guard August 04, 2016 09:30 AM

    At Citi, we’re working to respond to the complex challenges faced by military families, and to the unique needs of America’s uniformed men and women who are transitioning out of the military in large numbers. With almost every aspect of their lives up in the air -- securing a job, finding housing, and establishing financial plans -- many individuals and families struggle to prepare for the future.

    Every service member’s journey is different. Some transition out after one enlistment, some retire after 20 years of service, while still others are National Guard Members or Reservists leaving a full time position to reenter the civilian workforce. These differences in experience can make it difficult for transitioning service members to locate the knowledge, tools and resources they need to become financially successful in the civilian world. I am familiar with this challenge firsthand.

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  • 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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