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Success Stories from Coalition Partners

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Return to Banking Class Leads to Financial Stability

Put Yourself First

Tenisha W. was always putting others’ needs before her own. Despite lacking security of food and shelter, she spent a good portion of her wages supporting a young man who was out of a job—generosity that kept her from financial stability herself. She chartered a new path when she began a virtual Return to Banking class in 2021, sponsored by Community Action Agency of St. Louis County, that helped her acquire money management skills and the financial empowerment that comes along with them. “The class helped me out by knowing how to put myself first and making my money stretch further,” Tenisha shares. Her most valuable takeaway? Budgeting. “Right now I pay my rent and my phone bill first, then I spend what I want and save the rest.”

Tenisha’s story is featured in the Coalition’s Outcomes and Opportunities report.

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Homeownership adds stability to life

Loan officer helps first time homebuyer save money and navigate the homebuying process with ease

Ms. Drew (now a graduate of Fisk University) purchased her first home at the start of her senior year in college. She credits the expertise of her loan officer at Midwest BankCentre with helping her to save money and guide her throughout the process of buying her first home.

“Homeownership like many milestones or accomplishments has been ever so rewarding. Buying my first home before having graduated college has not only propelled me to be well on my way to having an investment property, but it has added an invaluable level of stability to my life.”

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Tenants Behind on Rent Get New Lease on Financial Future

Rental Assistance Program Empowers West End Residents

“After being laid off from my job due to Covid-19, I was not sure how I would fend financially without my main source of income,” said Mr. F, a resident affected by the pandemic and behind on his rent. Thankfully, Cornerstone, a nonprofit housing agency serving residents in St. Louis’ West End, teamed up with Coalition partners Bank of America and People’s Community Action Corporation to offer a Rent Forgiveness Program that set up residents for long-term financial success. The program included financial education classes, case management, budgeting, credit report pulls and debt reduction plans. The City Treasurer’s Office of Financial Empowerment and Operation Hope provided credit counseling. “Thanks to the rent assistance program, I was able to create a budget and learn other tips to assist in me making better financial choices and planning,” says Mr. F. “I was able to pay off the majority of my outstanding debt.”

Learn more about partner initiatives like the Rent Forgiveness Program on our Community Programs page.

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Bank On Certified Accounts help people become financially secure

Affordable Bank On accounts to not have overdraft fees

Florence C. decided to ‘shop’ for a new bank account when her purse, and identity were stolen. She chose the Thrive Checking account, offered by First Bank because of the product’s transparency in fees and sense of control she feels with the account’s low-cost features—initial opening deposit is just $25, and monthly fees are less than $5. As a certified Bank On account, the product meets rigorous criteria that meet the definition of safe and affordable transaction accounts. She also appreciates its Flex Debit card and checkless checking feature she uses for paying bills and making purchases, which mean that she will not incur overdrafts or overdraft fees, because the card will not allow payments if there is no money in the account. Florence says she recommends this or another Bank On product to others who want to feel empowered and want security over their finances and managing money. “With this account, you can’t make a mistake,” she says. “I felt secure and in control when I was rebuilding.

To learn more about Bank On products available in the Greater St. Louis region, visit our Affordable Banking page.

*Stories shared with permission through partners and their clients who have benefited from services of the St. Louis Regional Financial Empowerment Coalition. Stock photos used for privacy

Share Your Success Story!

Do you know someone who has become financially empowered through the work of the St. Louis Regional Financial Empowerment Coalition or its partners? Inspire others and share their success story!