NJ could bring free financial coaching to 5 cities


No lawmaker voted against it, but a bill to increase financial literacy in some of New Jersey’s poorest communities has been waiting for Gov. Phil Murphy’s action since late June.

The measure, which establishes a three-year pilot series of “Financial Empowerment Centers” in select cities, would use funding received by the state as part of a resolution of complaints against Equifax in 2019 following a data breach that affected millions of New Jersey residents.

If law becomes law, the pilot program would contract with a non-profit provider to establish an empowerment center in Camden, New Brunswick, Newark, Paterson and Trenton, in locations easily accessible to residents. . The centers would facilitate forums, programs or initiatives designed to educate the public about financial literacy and provide mentoring to “economically vulnerable”.

“With times so difficult, the ability to make informed decisions about our finances is more important than ever, said Ralph Albert Thomas, CEO and Executive Director of the New Jersey Society of CPA, which encourages Murphy to sign on to the law. “We believe that many adults – especially those living in disadvantaged communities – could benefit from the program’s focus on bank accounts, credit scores, reducing non-mortgage debt and increasing income. savings. “

Following the conclusion of the pilot program, the legislation says, a report would be submitted to the Department of Community Affairs, which would then submit a report to the governor on the effectiveness of the program. The report would include a recommendation on the possibility of expanding and expanding the program.

“By providing centers like this we can hopefully help raise people in difficult areas, as I would call them,” Thomas said.

The Democrat-sponsored measure was approved unanimously by the plenary assembly in March and unanimously by the entire Senate in June.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at [email protected]

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