2014 CD Perspectives Report

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Visit FedCommunities.org Understanding the unique challenges facing economically vulnerable households To gain perspective on these issues, CD staff conducted a number of consumer sur veys, research, and data analyses in 2013 on household finances, access to mor tgage credit, and other factors relevant to rebuilding household wealth. Reser ve Banks also conducted research on the effectiveness of homeownership counseling and emerging models to help unbanked and underbanked individuals better access affordable credit. In 2013, Reserve Banks also organized and participated in research symposia for policymakers, funders, and community practitioners on family balance sheets and their impacts on families and the economy. CD staff subsequently provided periodic reports and presentations on household trends in borrowing and indebtedness, including data about mortgages, student loans, credit cards, auto loans, and delinquencies (read more on page 15). This information has helped practitioners better understand and monitor trends in household indebtedness and to paint a picture of overall family financial stability. Outreach to promote financial capability In 2013, Reserve Banks engaged with a variety of on-the-ground providers to promote financial capability. They offered financial security workshops and supported initiatives such as "Bank On" that promote starter and low-fee checking accounts. To reach broader audiences, CD staff also developed innovative media outreach such as a video competition on financial awareness. Additionally, Reserve Banks developed online and print resources to assist in outreach and training activities, including a personal finance education resource on building wealth. Finally, staff organized a number of financial capability programs for targeted populations such as Native Americans and immigrants to address their particular needs. An important takeaway from this work has been that financial education alone is not sufficient, but rather it is the combination of financial know-how, quality products, and access to wealth-building institutions that lead to a healthy balance sheet. Bolstering human capital initiatives For several years CD staff have examined the attenuating effects of long-term unemployment on the broader economic recovery, and particular issues facing lower-income communities. A summary of findings from a series of regional roundtable discussions focused on this topic was issued in early 2013. CD staff also focused on the unique employment challenges of particular geographies and populations, such as younger workers without a college degree who have high rates of unemployment (read more on page 15). In addition, large disparities in employment between minority and non-minority households at all income 13

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