PSECU Hosts Announcement of Multi-Partner, Financial Education Program Aimed at Reducing Pennsylvania Inmate Recidivism
Harrisburg, PA - October 20, 2017 - On October 5, leading Pennsylvania-based credit union PSECU hosted public and private sector partners at its headquarters facility for the announcement of an innovative, new Financial Reality Fair program aimed at reducing inmate recidivism - the first of its kind in the nation.
Officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, Department of Banking and Securities, and Board of Probation and Parole, along with representatives from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, and Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation spoke at the event, jointly announcing the launch of the Financial Reality Fairs with five simultaneous events on October 14 in Erie, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Reading.
"Every year, more than 20,000 people are released from our state prisons and return to their communities. One of the core challenges they face is a lack of knowledge about and access to financial services, including bank accounts, credit reports, insurance, and budgeting," Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said. "To help them succeed in the community and be less likely to return to prison, it is vital that they understand these basics of money management. This program will guide re-entrants through banking basics, establishing credit, avoiding predatory lending, and will make sure these individuals have the financial tools necessary to achieve a self-sustaining independence."
The Financial Reality Fair is an interactive financial literacy tool, providing a hands-on experience for re-entrants to identify post-release work options and starting pay expectations. Participants will complete a budget sheet guiding them to live within their monthly salary while paying for basics such as housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, and food - as well as discuss unexpected and emergency expenditures. At the Financial Reality Fair, volunteers from credit unions, community groups, and state agencies provide participants with financial counseling.
"We are pleased to be partnering with Governor Wolf and several state agencies to bring our unique financial education program, Financial Reality Fairs, to Corrections' re-entrants across Pennsylvania," said Pennsylvania Credit Union Association CEO Patrick Conway. "I would like to thank our credit unions who have volunteered to deliver the program as well as the state agencies who are partnering with us to deliver it."
"The importance of financial education should not be underestimated, and I'm glad to see partners from the state and the credit union community coming together to develop a method for sharing resources with a group that can really benefit from them," said Barb Bowker, PSECU Vice President of Marketing and Membership Development, and emcee of the Financial Reality Fair announcement event. "At PSECU, we've made financial education a focus area for outreach and interaction with our members and the greater community. Our award-winning financial education program - WalletWorks - provides free resources and learning materials for people of all ages and backgrounds."
The agencies and organizations involved in the Financial Reality Fair program hope to make them annual events.
Opened in 1934, PSECU was founded by 22 ordinary people who made an extraordinary commitment to each other: To create a financial institution where pooled resources benefit all members. Today, we are a full-service credit union serving more than 430,000 members and have over $5 billion in assets. As a not-for-profit financial institution, our goal remains to help our members and their families achieve a better life. For more information about PSECU, visit psecu.com. View our Community Report Card to learn how we contribute to the greater good.