National League of Cities and MetLife Foundation Partner to Build More Financially Inclusive Cities
WASHINGTON—Today, the National League of Cities' (NLC) is launching a new initiative in partnership with MetLife Foundation to help cities promote financial inclusion for their residents. NLC received a $1 million grant from MetLife Foundation to implement an eight-city project, Cities Building Systems to Promote Financial Inclusion, which will provide technical assistance to cities as they develop innovative strategies for families to achieve financial stability.
Over a two-year grant period, NLC will work with local leaders and their community partners to build a citywide approach focused on financial inclusion that provides residents with more opportunities to:
- Build savings and assets;
- Expand access to safe and affordable financial services;
- Improve credit scores and expand access to credit; and
- Increase the availability of financial coaching and literacy programs.
"As city leaders, we constantly see families in our communities struggling with debt, foreclosure and other financial challenges, and we know the impact it can have on not only those families but on the entire community," said NLC President Ralph Becker, mayor, Salt Lake City, Utah. "NLC's new project will provide an important opportunity for mayors and other local officials to put efforts in place to help residents be more financially secure."
Cities can apply to participate in the two-year project, which includes a Mayor's Institute on Financial Inclusion. Mayors from selected cities will spend two days brainstorming ways to solve challenges and take advantage of new and existing opportunities to help residents gain a solid financial foothold.
This initiative builds on NLC's long history of building the capacity of city leaders to address their resident' financial challenges. In 2014, with the support of MetLife Foundation, NLC conducted in-depth research on financial inclusion programs in cities across the U.S. This research resulted in a comprehensive report, City Financial Inclusion Efforts: A National Overview that highlights the growing commitment of city leaders to mitigate the financial hardships many of their residents face on a daily basis.
For example, in 65 percent of the cities surveyed, local elected officials are working with community partners to increase the availability of financial education and counseling, build pathways to safe and affordable financial services and implement other innovative programs to help families build financial stability.
"Cities can act as laboratories for innovative financial inclusion programs," said Dennis White, President and CEO of MetLife Foundation. "We are pleased to encourage local officials who are taking steps to expand financial opportunities for their residents, and to help enable cities to learn from each other about how best to address this important issue.
About the National League of Cities:
The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.
About MetLife Foundation:
MetLife Foundation was created in 1976 to continue MetLife's long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Since its founding through the end of 2013, Today, the Foundation is dedicated to advancing financial inclusion, committing $200 million over the next five years to help build a secure future for individuals and communities around the world. To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit www.metlife.org.