Since 2009, the NOVA Coalition has launched a financial education initiative to connect low-income members of the community to available services, including: one-on-one personal finance counseling, budget workshops, free credit reports and scores, credit repair strategies, and opportunities to open a bank account and learn about the importance of saving.
At the start of tax season 2009 a partnership was established with TD Bank, resulting in over 400 VITA clients having received $100 when they opened a new bank account at our busiest site, as well as an additional 200 at our annual job fair. Also at the job fair, staff on the BB&T bus provided over 250 free credit reports to job seekers who attended.
We have since provided over 200 additional free credit scores to clients attending financial education workshops, the majority of which have been delivered at three established VITA sites. In order to expand our financial education services additional partnerships have since been established with Wells Fargo and M&T Bank. Throughout the tax season, representatives from TD Bank, M&T Bank or Wells Fargo may be found at each of the VITA sites, opening new bank accounts for clients, providing new account holders $50 to $100, and fueling up volunteers with lunch.
Over 720 new accounts have been opened since TY 2010. We hope to increase that during TY 2012!