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Symposium 2012

Proposal - Credit and Money Management- 700 Credit Score Communities

The Challenge

As governments face increasing debt burdens and companies too face significant cost burdens, there is a clear movement towards individual responsibility for financial planning for retirement. This mov ...

As governments face increasing debt burdens and companies too face significant cost burdens, there is a clear movement towards individual responsibility for financial planning for retirement. This movement is happening at precisely the time that individuals themselves are feeling more insecure about the future in the face of declining job security and the increased reluctance of financial institutions to provide credit.

In today’s world, a person’s credit score largely determines their ability to access gainful employment, safe housing, affordable insurance premiums, banking opportunities, and other makings of financial dignity. In line with our mission to build communities where every citizen has an opportunity to obtain their dreams, HOPE has developed the 700 CREDIT SCORE COMMUNITIES (700 CSC) program as an additional service to our Credit and Money Management program. The 700 CSC will allow participants to join a community of other like-minded individuals to participate in one-on-one and group credit counseling sessions to ultimately improve their credit score and realize their dreams through applying knowledge gained from financial literacy education.

Background

HOPE, through the HOPE Financial Dignity Centers (HOPE Centers), monitored the impact of our home ownership, counseling program from 2008 through 2011. The average credit score of clients who enrolled in the program was 571 and over the course of three years, with an average program enrollment of 14 months, HOPE certified counselors successfully improved client credit scores by an average of 69 points, from 571 to 640. Based on the success of this initial pilot, HOPE has created the HOPE 700 CSC program to assist individuals in raising their credit scores to a level where they have access to more opportunities and are set on a path towards achieving their life’s goals.

Vision

HOPE believes that a community empowered with its own sense of financial dignity asks better questions, demands better products and services, is more aspirational, and positions itself as an upwardly mobile emerging market for the future. In short, a community filled with economic opportunity.

Program

The 700 CSC will transform underserved communities into emerging market communities of economic opportunity. HOPE will achieve this goal by working closely with local consumers and business owners in a comprehensive program that will provide participants with the skills required to improve their credit scores. Participants will join other likeminded individuals to participate in ongoing, one-on-one and group credit counseling workshops, money management counseling, and credit score improvement, as well as have opportunities to learn how appropriate technology can assist them in monitoring their progress and be a tool to success. Throughout the program, participants will receive support from HOPE staff, partner agencies, and most importantly, other participants in the group that have the same goal.

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