City of Detroit announces launch of local consumer financial protection planning efforts, beginning with protections against financial predators and scams amidst COVID-19
The City of Detroit announced today the launch of local consumer financial protection planning efforts in partnership with the national nonprofit organization the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund) and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The City of Detroit joins Chattanooga, TN; Philadelphia, PA; Shelby County, TN; and St. Paul, MN as the second cohort of the CFE Fund’s Local Consumer Financial Protection Initiative, which supports local governments across the country in developing and enhancing their capacity to offer their residents consumer financial protection and empowerment. The City of Detroit will work with the CFE Fund to plan for the establishment of a local consumer protection agency, which will work to augment resident financial empowerment by protecting consumer assets through licensing, regulation, enforcement, mediation, and outreach and education.
“Predatory consumer practices extract wealth from Detroit communities and cause significant harm” said Chelsea Neblett, Detroit Financial Empowerment Center Manager. “We are eager to engage Detroiters and local stakeholders to develop a comprehensive local consumer protection plan. We deeply appreciate the support from Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund and the Annie E. Casey Foundation for selecting the City of Detroit to join the planning cohort.”
The City of Detroit has received a $10,000 grant, paired with a nine-month technical assistance engagement partnership, to begin planning for a local consumer financial protection initiative. This process will include a structured approach to identifying critical local consumer issues, convening key stakeholders, and surveying the legal landscape that will inform the development of an actionable strategic plan.
“It is an unfortunate reality that predatory actors look to take advantage of vulnerable people during times of crisis like the current COVID-19 pandemic. Examples of scams, frauds, deceptive advertising, and price gouging are already occurring across the country,” said Jonathan Mintz, CFE Fund President and CEO, “Local governments have a critical role to play in protecting residents’ hard-earned assets, and we are thrilled to partner with Mayor Duggan on this important work.”
The Local Consumer Financial Protection Initiative is part of a larger investment in financial empowerment initiatives by CFE Fund in the City of Detroit. In August 2019, the Detroit Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) was launched in partnership with the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office and Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency supported by CFE Fund and JPMorgan Chase. The FEC provides free, professional, one-on-one financial counseling for Detroiters as a public service. To date, the FEC has seen 430 unique clients, and conducted 710 sessions. Having reached 153 outcomes and 484 milestones, residents have been able to save $186,453 dollars and reduce debt by $193,740. The CFE Fund also support Detroit’s efforts to ensure residents have access to safe, and affordable bank accounts through the local Bank On Initiative where four financial institutions have accounts that meet the national Bank On standards and the Summer Jobs Connect Program that pairs youth employment with banking access.
About the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund)
The CFE Fund supports municipal efforts to improve the financial stability of households by leveraging opportunities unique to local government. By translating cutting edge experience with large scale programs, research, and policy in cities of all sizes, the CFE Fund assists mayors and other local leaders to identify, develop, fund, implement, and research pilots and programs that help families build assets and make the most of their financial resources. The CFE Fund is currently working in over 80 cities, and has disbursed over $42 million to city governments and their partners to support these efforts. For more information, please visit www.cfefund.org or follow us on Twitter at @CFEFund.
Tracey Lynn Pearson