Consumer Education Available in 2009 through Grant to Step Up

Step Up and the City of Savannah received a $100,000 grant designed to increase the number of consumer education programs available to low-income families regarding banking, personal budgeting and finances.

The grant funds, provided by the AIG Financial Literacy Fund, should also be used to evaluate the effect such programs have on lowincome families and their decisions to use traditional banking services and to save money.

Savannah is one of six cities that will receive $1.25 million from AIG over the next two years, intended to expand the delivery and increase the quality of financial education and counseling

services. The cities include New York, San Francisco, Miami, San Antonio, Seattle, and Savannah and collectively call themselves the Cities for Financial Empowerment.

More than 10,000 people in Savannah’s high poverty census tracts are not using traditional banks, according to a recent survey conducted by Dr. Deden Rukmana of Savannah State University for the Savannah Banking Taskforce. A complementary Brookings Institute study estimates that more than half a million dollars are spent annually on fees for fringe financial services in Savannah’s poorest neighborhoods. This means area low-income households are particularly challenged to save, and are paying high fees for financial products.

Savannah is scheduled to receive another $100,000 in 2010 as part of the initiative. It will also use the funds to market these educational services by creating a citywide directory of financial counseling services for consumers.

For more information about the AIG grant, or Step Up Savannah’s approach to financial education for lowincome families, contact Daniel Dodd, director of Step Up at 644-6420.

For more information about the Cities for Financial Empowerment, visit:

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