Wells Fargo & Company (No. 3 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) has announced a $1 million commitment to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) in support of the Sharpen Your Financial Focus (Sharpen) initiative.
The Sharpen program helps consumers address their primary financial challenges through targeted education and counseling. The program is available in English and Spanish and consists of the following:
- MyMoneyCheckUp is an online self-assessment that helps increase a client’s awareness of their own financial activities and overall financial health and provides ways to help.
- Customized One-on-One Financial Reviews take place with an NFCC Certified Credit Counselor. These sessions are intended to help clients establish goals and a personalized action plan.
- Hands on Banking for Military is an element of the financial education program specifically developed by Wells Fargo to address the unique needs of service members, veterans and their families at each stage of their careers and lives. Available nationally through NFCC member agencies and online at handsonbanking.org, the program offers 10 individual modules across a range of topics, from banking basics to planning for retirement.
- eCoaching, with automated email and text reminders, helps clients stay on track.
“American service members deserve every possible opportunity to achieve financial stability,” said Susan C. Keating, president and CEO of the NFCC. “The generous support provided by Wells Fargo allows NFCC Members to continue delivering impactful financial capability services to those who have dedicated themselves in service to our nation.”
Wells Fargo has been working alongside the NFCC since 2013 to bring Hands on Banking for Military classes and resources to service members in the continental United States and Puerto Rico. In addition to the group education designed to keep military personnel and their families on a path to financial stability, the nationwide network of counselors provide personalized financial reviews, budget planning and concrete solutions to pressing financial concerns. Military and veteran groups seeking an NFCC Member representative to lead a class, or individuals who would like to schedule a session with a financial specialist, can contact the NFCC toll-free at (855) 374-2773.
“We have seen the unique financial challenges facing service members, veterans and their families, such as planning financially for deployments, Permanent Changes of Station (PCS) and transitions into civilian careers,” said Jerry Quinn, Wells Fargo Military & Veteran Program manager. “Wells Fargo’s online Hands on Banking for Military program has engaged more than 362,000 unique visitors since 2013. Our support of the NFCC and Sharpen program demonstrate our commitment to helping them overcome those challenges and reach financial success.”
More than 75,000 people have been helped through the Sharpen program since it was launched in 2013, and nearly one-quarter of those are active duty military, veterans and their families. Researchers from The Ohio State University reported that:
- 67 percent of Sharpen participants say the program helped them better manage their money;
- 68 percent say it helped them set financial goals; 70 percent improved their overall financial confidence; and
- 73 percent are paying their debt more consistently
The average total debt for participants decreased by $17,000 over a year and a half after completing the program and their credit scores improved from 586 to 601. The 600 threshold opens up access to more affordable credit.
Consumers interested in improving one’s financial situation or planning for a better tomorrow can visit www.SharpenToday.org to connect with an NFCC Member Agency and begin the Sharpen Your Financial Focus program.