The Financial Stability Workgroup refocused and regrouped as the Financial Services Network with the intent to build a better system of financial literacy services, particularly to low-income people and those at-risk for predatory lending practices. The goals and metrics for this group are more programmatic and based on the necessity to better understand the financial needs across our communities.
The FSN Team is a group of seven organizations working for the first time in a collaborative effort to gather and compile common data including credit scores, savings balances, homeownership, household income, budgeting, and the use of alternative financial services (payday lenders). An online share site has been developed for the FSN Team to upload all financial services data on a monthly basis. This data will be compiled into a master spreadsheet to be shared and analyzed by the Network Team members, enabling them to identify community strengths and needs.
A database will be developed to track individual clients through the continuum of Central Alabama’s financial service providers to ensure that all are given every opportunity to achieve financial stability. Current FSN participants include Gateway, Greater Birmingham Habitat for Humanity, Birmingham Urban League, Jefferson County Committee for Economic Development (JCCEO), Neighborhood Housing Services of Birmingham (NHSB), Salvation Army-Birmingham Area Command, and UWCA Financial Stability Program. This team will continue to grow as other organizations providing financial literacy services join our efforts.
As of July 2016, we are now in the third month of collecting data. We are excited to move forward and eventually find ways to move the needle on some of these data points.