Maryland Saves Brings MoneyWi$e to Germantown
Germantown, Maryland, a town known for its professional women’s soccer team and appearing in a few episodes of the TV show “The X files”, can now boast about being host to a successful MoneyWi$e training.
On June 12, 2009, the group Maryland Saves hosted a MoneyWi$e “train the trainer” roundtable in collaboration with the Montgomery County Coalition for Financial Literacy, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection, and the Mid-Atlantic Federal Credit Union. The training drew case managers, social workers, and counselors from nonprofits and community agencies in Maryland. Maryland Saves is a coalition of community organizations that offer free financial services to help residents of low and moderate income to save and build wealth.
Consumer Action’s Community Outreach Manager Linda Williams led the training by discussing money management. She told participants that the MoneyWi$e’s “Money Management” module can be incorporated into their agency’s orientation for new clients. Williams went over some of the compelling reasons for the agencies to include the module in new client orientations, including the broad range of useful subjects covered in the module such as banking, saving, and cutting expenses, and details about consumer credit and specialty consumer reports like chexsystems.
Williams told participants that in order to create a successful transitional plan for their clients, they might need to review a copy of their client’s tenant history, chexsystems and/or credit reports to determine the type of assistance a particular client may need. A client being transitioned from homelessness to housing who misused a bank account in the past is good example of this situation, said Williams. If the advocate is aware of the information up front, he or she may want to search for a bank rehab program first instead of subjecting the client to numerous rejections when trying to open a bank account. Williams noted that the “Money Management” module provides advice to advocates to begin this dialogue with clients.
During the session on “Rebuilding Credit,” Williams recognized that some clients with poor credit histories ask “Why should I try to rebuild my credit?” because it feels impossible to do so. She told the participants to encourage and lift up their clients by telling them it never too late, and remind them of the need for credit in order to obtain shelter that is decent, safe and sanitary. Credit is needed to get basic telephone services and to avoid having to pay large deposits for gas, water, or electric services.
Following the ID Theft presentation, participants played an interactive ID theft game and were pleased to learn that it was available for download along with the other nine MoneyWi$e modules on Consumer Action’s web site. Williams ended the presentation by urging the 56 attendees to visit www.consumer-action.org to download this wealth of information and more at no charge.