This post was originally produced for Forbes.
People who do not have access to the mainstream financial system are subject to a variety of fees for services that the rest of us either get for free or at negligible prices. According to Jonathan Mintz, founding President and CEO of Cities for Financial Empowerment (often called the CFE Fund) and the former Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs for New York says, “Using a traditional low-cost bank account could potentially save a full-time worker $40,000 over the course of his or her career.”
Mintz, who was recently featured in the documentary film Spent: Looking for Change, has attracted $16.2 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies to provide free one-on-one financial counseling. Additionally, the CFE Fund has received grants from JP Morgan Chase and the Citi Foundation to help cities provide resources to residents to access the mainstream banking system.
On September 29, 2014 at 3:00 Eastern, Mintz will join me for a live discussion about the CFE Fund’s work to expand access to affordable banking services for the unbanked and underbanked. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.
More about Cities for Financial Empowerment:
The Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund is a national non-profit organization that supports municipal efforts to help low-income families and individuals achieve long-term financial stability. The CFE Fund believes that cities and mayors are uniquely positioned to lead a national financial empowerment movement. To effectively deploy solutions through municipal governments, the CFE Fund works with private sector partners, including major financial institutions like American Express AXP -0.71%, Capital One, Citi Foundation and JP Morgan Chase to develop the most effective and efficient financial empowerment programs.
The CFE Fund uses its resources and experience to:
- Advise mayors and city leaders on how to integrate financial empowerment programs into municipal services
- Lead the national movement to professionalize the field of financial education
- Establish partnerships between the public and private sectors
Integrating financial empowerment services in with existing municipal assistance programs such as workforce development or public housing for example, creates what the organization sees at the “Supervitamin Effect,” through which financial empowerment contributes to improved outcomes for residents seeking assistance and a more efficient use of city resources in the long term.
Jonathan Mintz is Founding President and Chief Executive Officer of the Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund, a national non-profit organization that supports municipal efforts to help low-income families and individuals achieve long-term financial stability.
He also founded and co-chaired the Cities for Financial Empowerment Coalition (CFE Coalition), which brings together 14 pioneering municipal governments from across the country to advance innovative financial empowerment initiatives on the municipal, state, and national level. At the CFE Fund, Mintz provides resources to local government leaders and their partners across the world looking to expand financial empowerment programs, policies, and research.
From 2006-2013, Jonathan served as the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), having been appointed to the role by former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. During this time, Mintz redefined the Department’s regulatory enforcement powers toward a focus on consumer financial stability, re-envisioning consumer rights in fields such as debt collection, process serving, employment, and finance.
He also launched the Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE), which has been replicated by local governments across the nation to systematically advance programs in financial counseling and education, asset building, and safe banking. Having joined the DCA in 2002 as First Deputy Commissioner, Mintz worked in the Bloomberg Administration for its full 12 years, and was the longest serving Commissioner in the history of the Department.
Building on these experiences in New York City government, Mintz has pioneered the “Supervitamin Effect,” a growing body of programs, policies, and research that measures the positive impacts of integrating financial empowerment services into mainstream local government antipoverty programs such as workforce development, public housing, domestic violence, prisoner reentry, and more.
Mintz has also worked as an attorney, professor of law, and Second Grade teacher, with graduate degrees from Cornell School of Law and Bank Street College of Education.