Citi and CredAbility Join with IAVA, TAPS, and MSCCN to Launch Online Financial Education and Counseling Program for …

Posted: June 7, 2012 at 12:15 pm


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NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

Military service members, veterans, and their families and survivors need unique guidance and support to maintain their long-term financial health. Today, Citi joined with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), and the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network (MSCCN) to announce the launch of CredAbility ReConnect, a free online financial education and counseling program specifically designed to help these communities resolve financial difficulties and build economic security. The program, supported by a grant from Citi Community Development, was developed by CredAbility, a national nonprofit credit counseling organization, in collaboration with each of these established veterans service organizations.

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

CredAbility ReConnect addresses these financial challenges 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 and survivors they serve. Members of the armed forces, veterans and their families not affiliated with these organizations can access CredAbility ReConnect at http://www.CredAbility.org/recon.

CredAbility ReConnect covers:

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

A serious need exists for a targeted set of financial assistance services like CredAbility ReConnect, said Mechel Glass, Vice President of Community Outreach for CredAbility and a veteran of the Persian Gulf War. Young veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan might want to create a plan to make regular deposits to an emergency savings account and pay down debt. And active duty servicemembers might want to create a financial support plan for spouses and children during times of deployment or transfer, or in the event of a loss that leaves them financially vulnerable. CredAbility ReConnect will provide the education and counseling to show them how to accomplish these personal finance goals.

Every member of the armed forces has sacrificed a great deal in service to their country, and in addition to the challenges of military service, many face tremendous financial pressures as well, said Suni Harford, Citis Regional Head of Markets for North America. These brave men and women receive extensive military training, but far too few of them receive any kind of formal financial education. CredAbility ReConnect was developed to help these deserving men and women build financial capability and achieve long-term economic security for themselves and their families.

Citi is an established leader in the national effort to support veterans and active-duty servicemembers, including those in the Guard and Reserve, and CredAbility ReConnect is the latest initiative in a coordinated, firm-wide effort in this area. In May, Citi launched Citi Salutes, a one-stop resource that consolidates all of Citis programs, products and partnerships that support the greater veterans community. Later this month, Citi will be helping to lead the second annual Veterans on Wall Street conference and job fair in New York, an initiative co-founded by Citi to develop career opportunities in the financial services industry for veterans.

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Citi and CredAbility Join with IAVA, TAPS, and MSCCN to Launch Online Financial Education and Counseling Program for ...

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June 7th, 2012 at 12:15 pm

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