CredAbility ReConnect Program to Help Those Who Serve our CountryThursday, June 07, 2012

Citi and CredAbility Join with IAVA, TAPS, and MSCCNto Launch Online Financial Education and Counseling Program for Armed ForcesMembers, Veterans, and Their Families

 

CredAbility ReConnect is Tailored to Meet the Unique FinancialChallenges

Facing ThoseWho Serve Our Country

 

NEW YORK, June 7, 2012 — Militaryservice members, veterans, and their families and survivors need uniqueguidance and support to maintain their long-term financial health.  Today, Citi joined with Iraqand Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the Tragedy Assistance Program forSurvivors(TAPS), and the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network (MSCCN) to announce thelaunch of CredAbilityReConnect,a free online financial education and counseling program specifically designedto help these communities resolve financial difficulties and build economicsecurity. The program, supported by a grant from Citi Community Development,was developed by CredAbility, a national nonprofit creditcounseling organization, in collaboration with each of these establishedveterans’ service organizations.

 Recentdata shows that members of the armed forces, veterans and their families faceparticular financial difficulties. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,the unemployment rate for veterans who have served on active duty sinceSeptember 2001 was 12.1 percent in 2011, compared to the national unemploymentrate of 8.9 percent that same year. According to Debt.org, more than 25 percent of military families thathave credit card debt carry a balance of more than $10,000, and a third ofmilitary families report they have trouble paying monthly bills.   Also, 2011 data from CredAbility of veteranswho went through credit counseling shows that veterans ages 29 or younger have averagemonthly expenses that exceed their net income by $880 as well as average creditcard debt of $7,234.   

 CredAbility ReConnect addresses these financialchallenges with a set of online tools, education and counseling.   Individuals and families served by IAVA,TAPS, and MSCCN will be able to access custom versions of the online program,free of charge, tailored to the unique needs of the veterans, families andsurvivors they serve.  Members of the armedforces, veterans and their families not affiliated with these organizations canaccess CredAbility ReConnect at www.CredAbility.org/recon.

 CredAbility ReConnect covers:

 The Financial Impact of Deployment – Online courses to help military families deal with the financial implications of a deployment, including how to manage money while a spouse is overseas.


Easing theTransition – Online courses, such as “UnderstandingYour Military Benefits” and “Reconnecting Financially” help ease the financial transitionfor those who have recently left the armed forces or experienced the death of aservicemember


Budget and Credit Counseling - Personalized financial “check-ups” help users manage their money better and prioritize spending through easy-to-follow plans.  Online courses help with wise use of credit, debt reduction strategies, and setting goals for a healthier financial future.

 Debt Management Plans – Custom affordable repayment plans, often with reduced interest rates, fees and penalties for qualified individuals, help visitors pay down debt, negotiate with creditors and regain their financial footing.       

Foreclosure Prevention and Home Buying Guidance - HUD-certified counselors provide guidance to individuals who are behind on their mortgage payments or face foreclosure, as well as to prospective homebuyers.

Free one-on-one credit counseling with a CredAbilitycertified counselor is also available by telephone at 888-808-7285.

 “A serious need exists for a targeted setof financial assistance services like CredAbilityReConnect,” said Mechel Glass, Vice President of Community Outreach forCredAbility and a veteran of the Persian Gulf War. “Young veterans who servedin Iraq or Afghanistan might want to create aplan to make regular deposits to an emergency savings account and pay downdebt. And active duty servicemembers might want to create a financial supportplan for spouses and children during times of deployment or transfer, or in theevent of a loss that leaves them financially vulnerable. CredAbility ReConnect will provide the education and counseling toshow them how to accomplish these personal finance goals.”

“Every member of the armed forces hassacrificed a great deal in service to their country, and in addition to thechallenges of military service, many face tremendous financial pressures aswell,” said Suni Harford, Citi’s Regional Head of Markets for North America.  “These brave men and women receive extensivemilitary training, but far too few of them receive any kind of formal financialeducation.  CredAbility ReConnect was developed to help these deservingmen and women build financial capability and achieve long-term economicsecurity for themselves and their families.”

Citi is an established leader in thenational effort to support veterans and active-duty servicemembers, includingthose in the Guard and Reserve, and CredAbility ReConnect is the latest initiative in a coordinated, firm-wide effortin this area.  In May, Citi launched CitiSalutes, a one-stop resource that consolidatesall of Citi’s programs, products and partnerships that support the greaterveterans community.  Later this month, Citiwill be helping to lead the second annual Veterans on Wall Street  conference and job fair in New York, an initiative co-founded by Citito develop career opportunities in the financial services industry forveterans.

 About Citi

Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries andjurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments andinstitutions with a broad range of financial products and services, includingconsumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securitiesbrokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.

 Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com |Twitter: @Citi | YouTube: www.youtube.com/citi | Blog: http://new.citi.com | Facebook: www.facebook.com/citi | LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/citi

About Citi Community Development
Citi Community Development (CCD) is leading Citi’s commitment to achieveeconomic empowerment and growth for underserved individuals, families and communitiesby expanding access to financial products and services, and buildingsustainable business solutions and innovative partnerships.  Our focus areas include:  commercial and philanthropic funding;innovative financial products and services; and collaborations withinstitutions that expand access to financial products and services forlow-income and underserved communities. For more information, please visit
www.citigroup.com/community.

 About CredAbility

CredAbility is one of the leading nonprofit credit counseling andeducation agencies in the United States,serving clients in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico andthe US Virgin Islands, in both English and Spanish. In addition, theorganization provides in-person counseling through its branch network of morethan 25 offices located across the southeast.

 Founded in 1964, CredAbility isa family of Consumer Credit Counseling Service agencies that includes CCCS ofGreater Atlanta, CCCS of Central Florida and the FloridaGulf Coast,CCCS of Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast, CCCS of East Tennessee, CCCS of Central Mississippi andCCCS of Upstate South Carolina.  Thenonprofit agency is accredited by the Council on Accreditation and is a memberof the Better Business Bureau and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling(NFCC). Governed by a community-based board of directors, CredAbility is fundedby creditors, clients, individual donors and grants from foundations,businesses and government agencies. Service is provided 24/7 by phone at800.251.2227 and online at www.CredAbility.org.

 About Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) isthe nation’s first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated toimproving the lives of our newest veterans and their families. Throughinnovative health, education, employment and community programs, IAVA strivesto build an empowered generation of veterans who provide sustainable leadershipfor our country and their local communities. Learn more, get involved and joinIAVA’s over 200,000 Member Veterans and Civilian Supporters. For moreinformation, visit http://iava.org/.