Paving the Path for Economic Independence with the Help of a Local Credit Union

Wentzville, MO 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), focused on serving the community with education, job training, and sustainable housing resources, partnered with Connections to Success in September to provide economic and training resources as part of 1st Financial’s Helping People 1st program.

Connections to Success, is a local organization which provides services and support to break the cycle of poverty. The organization serves people transitioning from poverty, incarceration, domestic violence, and other complex situations. The program’s main goal is to empower individuals through their transformation to economic independence by creating a program that meets the program participants where they currently are in life.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union was able to serve as a resource to Connections to Success by facilitating mock interviews for the participants. The Vice President of Human Resources, Hazelwood Branch Manager, Chief Lending Officer, and Community Development Manager walked through the interview process including how to dress and prepare for an interview, what questions to anticipate, and provided individual feedback to each of the participants during the mock interviews.

Connections to Success has been a recipient of 1st Financials Helping People 1st grant for the past three years. With the grant and funds provided by other fundraising efforts supported by both 1st Financial employees and members, 1st Financial was able to present a check for $759.25 to Connections to Success in September.

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Pat Johnson, Wentzville Branch Manager, stated “Over the years, our partnership with Connections to Success has grown tremendously. We are able to help people who could quite possibly be our friends or our neighbors become financially independent.”

Lynda Keeton, the Event Coordinator for Connections to Success stated, “We are honored to be the recipient of the Helping People 1st Grant and truly appreciate the ongoing partnership with 1st Financial Federal Credit Union.” Ms. Keeton continued to state, “Together we are impacting our communities and changing lives.”

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About 1st Financial Federal Credit Union

Like all credit unions, 1st Financial is a member-owned, financial cooperative. 1st Financial Federal Credit Union was chartered on September 3, 1968 as District 837 Credit Union by the International Association of Machinist members employed by McDonnell Douglas. Today, with over 30,000 members and nearly $200 million in assets, 1st Financial is a St. Louis metro area financial institution dedicated to helping members achieve their financial dreams. For over 45 years 1st Financial has provided members with a full line of dependable financial products and services which returns profits to the members in the form of lower rates on loans and higher savings yields. The cooperative nature of credit unions enables 1st Financial to provide products and services at very reasonable rates.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union serves those who live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri and a wide array of companies throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. 1st Financial is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial organization committed to providing quality services to the membership while demonstrating safe and sound business practices. Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the U.S. Government.

Not a credit union member? If you live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri, you can open an account today with 1st Financial Federal Credit Union. Visit www.TheBetterWayToBank.org for more information.


Two Little Girls Use Birthday Party to Help Local Credit Union with School Supply Drive

Wentzville, MO –Two little girls with big hearts, Kenley and her friend Evelyn, recently saw 1st Financial Federal Credit Union gather school supplies for local and children decided to help.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), focused on serving the community with education, job training, and sustainable housing resources, partnered with KidSmart Tools for Learning in the month of August to raise awareness, volunteer, and host school supply drives throughout the St. Louis area. The credit union also offered a small grant of $505.00 and received generous donations of school supplies from members and employees.

There was one young member, in particular, and her friends, who decided to do something very unique to help KidSmart and 1st Financial Federal Credit Union with their efforts.

Kenley, a 5 year old member of 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, capitalized on an upcoming birthday party, which she was sharing and hosting with her friend, Evelyn, by asking her guests to bring a donation of school supplies in lieu of gifts. Kenley’s friends brought everything from pencils to backpacks. When Kenley was asked why she wanted to host the school supply drive, she stated, “I wanted to help kids who didn’t have stuff for school. Kids need stuff to help them learn.”Two girls hosting school supply drive

KidSmart Tools for Learning opened in 2002 and is continuously growing every day. The mission of KidSmart, is to ensure that children and their classrooms in the Greater Metropolitan Saint Louis Area have the basic tools for learning by transferring, at no cost, the community’s surplus supplies and merchandise into the hands of teachers for school children in need.

Kacie Alexander, the mother of Kenley and the Executive Assistant at 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, stated, “As an employee, I am proud to be part of an organization that empowers and encourages us to make a difference in the communities we serve. As a member, I appreciate the opportunity to not only teach my daughter important financial skills through the CUbby Kids Club program, but also the importance of giving back and helping others.  For our family, being a part of 1st Financial is rewarding on so many levels.”

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About 1st Financial Federal Credit Union

Like all credit unions, 1st Financial is a member-owned, financial cooperative. 1st Financial Federal Credit Union was chartered on September 3, 1968 as District 837 Credit Union by the International Association of Machinist members employed by McDonnell Douglas. Today, with over 30,000 members and nearly $200 million in assets, 1st Financial is a St. Louis metro area financial institution dedicated to helping members achieve their financial dreams. For over 45 years 1st Financial has provided members with a full line of dependable financial products and services which returns profits to the members in the form of lower rates on loans and higher savings yields. The cooperative nature of credit unions enables 1st Financial to provide products and services at very reasonable rates.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union serves those who live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri and a wide array of companies throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. 1st Financial is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial organization committed to providing quality services to the membership while demonstrating safe and sound business practices. Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the U.S. Government.

Not a credit union member? If you live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri, you can open an account today with 1st Financial Federal Credit Union. Visit www.TheBetterWayToBank.org for more information.


Jobs Plus Program and Local Credit Union Helps Students Prepare for School Year

St. Louis, MO – 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), focused on serving the community with education, job training, and sustainable housing resources, has partnered with the Jobs Plus Program to help over 90 youth prepare for the upcoming school year.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union donated a small grant of $500 to fill over 90 backpacks with school supplies and purchase school uniforms for the youth of Clinton-Peabody housing development. Tracy Verner, Community Development Manager for 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, stated, “This was such an incredible event to be a part of! The youth and their parents were so beyond thankful for our time and our gifts.” Tracy continued to say, “Jobs plus does amazing work. To be able to partner with this organization on this event was wonderful.” The Jobs Plus Program and 1st Financial have been partners since 2015 as they provide comprehensive financial literacy to residents of the Clinton-Peabody Housing Development.

Jobs Plus is a 4-year HUD grant administered through the St. Louis Housing Authority and SLATE American Job Center to support job development, training, employment, supportive services, income incentives, and community support for residents of the Clinton-Peabody Housing Development.1stFin_JobsPlus_BackToSchool_2

Stacy Fowler, Manager of Special Projects department said, “We are so grateful to 1st Financial Federal Credit Union for providing the Jobs Plus Program with a $500 grant to purchase Clinton-Peabody students with needed school supplies.” Stacy continued to say, “As a community partner, 1st Financial has been exceptionally supportive of our efforts to serve and empower residents of the Clinton-Peabody community through on-site financial literacy workshops, donations, and networking opportunities.”

About 1st Financial Federal Credit Union

Like all credit unions, 1st Financial is a member-owned, financial cooperative. 1st Financial Federal Credit Union was chartered on September 3, 1968 as District 837 Credit Union by the International Association of Machinist members employed by McDonnell Douglas. Today, with over 30,000 members and over $200 million in assets, 1st Financial is a St. Louis metro area financial institution dedicated to helping members achieve their financial dreams. For over 45 years 1st Financial has provided members with a full line of dependable financial products and services which returns profits to the members in the form of lower rates on loans and higher savings yields. The cooperative nature of credit unions enables 1st Financial to provide products and services at very reasonable rates.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union serves those who live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri and a wide array of companies throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. 1st Financial is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial organization committed to providing quality services to the membership while demonstrating safe and sound business practices. Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the U.S. Government.

Not a credit union member? If you live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri, you can open an account today with 1st Financial Federal Credit Union. Visit www.TheBetterWayToBank.org for more information.1stFin_JobsPlus_BackToSchool


St. Charles City-County Library Foundation and Local Credit Union Work Together to Promote Literacy

St. Charles, MO – 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), focused on serving the community with education, job training, and sustainable housing resources, has partnered with St. Charles City-County Library Foundation.

The St. Charles City-County Library Foundation, established in 1999, has a mission, “To ensure excellent library programs, services, and facilities for all people by developing and encouraging community investment and participation, today and tomorrow.”

1st Financial Federal Credit Union, through their Helping People 1st Grant program, awarded a small grant of $524.58 to St. Charles City-County Library Foundation.  The St. Charles Branch of 1st Financial Federal Credit Union also hosted a month long book drive and was able to collect over 100 books for the Foundation.

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Joe Krebs, Treasurer of the Friends of the Library annual Book Fair, and proud supporter of St. Charles City-County Library Foundation, stated, “Our focus is twofold; to raise funds to support the many programs of the St. Charles City-County Library District and to promote literacy in the local community by making books available at a reasonable cost.” Mr. Krebs continued his statement by saying, “We are able to do this through support of our many volunteers and local businesses such as 1st Financial Federal Credit Union. We sincerely appreciate both the time donated at the fair and their financial support.”

Chuck Holmes, Branch Manager of the St. Charles stated, “St. Charles City-County Library Foundation was a remarkable organization to work with. Our employees volunteered over 40 hours to help set up for their annual book fair.” Chuck Holmes continued to say, “I thoroughly enjoyed and loved being a part of this opportunity to help out the community and look forward to working with St. Charles City-County Library Foundation again the future.”

About 1st Financial Federal Credit Union

Like all credit unions, 1st Financial is a member-owned, financial cooperative. 1st Financial Federal Credit Union was chartered on September 3, 1968 as District 837 Credit Union by the International Association of Machinist members employed by McDonnell Douglas. Today, with over 30,000 members and over $200 million in assets, 1st Financial is a St. Louis metro area financial institution dedicated to helping members achieve their financial dreams. For over 45 years 1st Financial has provided members with a full line of dependable financial products and services which returns profits to the members in the form of lower rates on loans and higher savings yields. The cooperative nature of credit unions enables 1st Financial to provide products and services at very reasonable rates.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union serves those who live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri and a wide array of companies throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. 1st Financial is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial organization committed to providing quality services to the membership while demonstrating safe and sound business practices. Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the U.S. Government.

Not a credit union member? If you live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri, you can open an account today with 1st Financial Federal Credit Union. Visit www.TheBetterWayToBank.org for more information.Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset


Local Credit Union Hosting Free Credit Building Seminar and Personal Credit Reviews

Hazelwood, MO – 1st Financial Federal Credit Union is hosting their annual credit building seminar at their Hazelwood branch on Wednesday, August 24th at 6 pm. This free event is open to members of 1st Financial Federal Credit Union and the community.

Attendees of this seminar will receive information on basics of credit including, understanding the score, how to build credit, and ways to improve credit. Tracy Verner, Community Development Manager at 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, will be presenting this information along with the financial services staff of the Hazelwood branch.

“Building and repairing credit is vital in today’s financial climate. A lot of people don’t know how to begin repairing their situation and just give up. Our goal is to help guide our members towards a better solution.” stated Tracy Verner. She went on to say, “This topic is very popular and important for our members and the communities we serve.  We are excited to offer this free service.”

Attendees will be entered to win attendance prizes and those interested in learning more about their credit score and report will be given the opportunity to schedule a free one on one credit review with a 1st Financial Federal Credit Union financial service representative.

To RSVP, call Kyle at 636-916-8384 or email him at kchumbley@1stfinancialfcu.org. Complimentary refreshments will be served.

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About 1st Financial Federal Credit Union

Like all credit unions, 1st Financial is a member-owned, financial cooperative. 1st Financial Federal Credit Union was chartered on September 3, 1968 as District 837 Credit Union by the International Association of Machinist members employed by McDonnell Douglas. Today, with over 30,000 members and nearly $200 million in assets, 1st Financial is a St. Louis metro area financial institution dedicated to helping members achieve their financial dreams. For over 45 years 1st Financial has provided members with a full line of dependable financial products and services which returns profits to the members in the form of lower rates on loans and higher savings yields. The cooperative nature of credit unions enables 1st Financial to provide products and services at very reasonable rates.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union serves those who live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri and a wide array of companies throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. 1st Financial is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial organization committed to providing quality services to the membership while demonstrating safe and sound business practices. Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the U.S. Government.

Not a credit union member? If you live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri, you can open an account today with 1st Financial Federal Credit Union. Visit www.TheBetterWayToBank.org for more information


The Little Bit Foundation and Local Credit Union Tackle Upcoming School Year Together

St. Louis, MO – 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), focused on serving the community with education, job training, and sustainable housing resources, has partnered with The Little Bit Foundation to provide students with school uniforms, lunches, and hygiene products.

The Little Bit Foundation has been impacting the lives and education of local St. Louis youth since 2001 with a commitment, “to helping disadvantaged school children by creating a positive impact for personal growth, increasing self-esteem and encouraging a more focused and active learning environment.” June, marks the third year The Little Bit Foundation and 1st Financial Federal Credit Union have worked together to make a difference in the local community.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union presented a small grant of $653.50 to The Little Bit Foundation through the Helping People 1st Grant program. In the month of June, employees of 1st Financial were also able to volunteer over 30 hours at the Little Bit Foundation’s warehouse preparing bags full of goodies for the next school year.

In conjunction with the Helping People 1st Grant, the Downtown branch of 1st Financial, hosted bake sales every Friday and raffled off tickets to raise additional funds during the month of June. Jamila Robinson, a Financial Service Representative for 1st Financial, stated, “1st Financial Federal Credit Union is doing our part to support The Little Bit Foundation with their efforts to help school age children in the city of St. Louis. Throughout the month of June, we are committed to raising awareness about this great cause within our community and within our organization. By way of bake sales, donations, raffle entries, and volunteer opportunities we have successfully brought a little bit of everything to make a difference.”

Stacy Lupo, Communications Director of The Little Bit Foundation stated, “We are so grateful for the generous gifts of 1st Financial and its employees. Through the support of community-minded organizations, such as 1st Financial, The Little Bit Foundation is able to expand our reach and make a positive impact on the lives of children in the St. Louis region.”

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About 1st Financial Federal Credit Union

Like all credit unions, 1st Financial is a member-owned, financial cooperative. 1st Financial Federal Credit Union was chartered on September 3, 1968 as District 837 Credit Union by the International Association of Machinist members employed by McDonnell Douglas. Today, with over 30,000 members and nearly $200 million in assets, 1st Financial is a St. Louis metro area financial institution dedicated to helping members achieve their financial dreams. For over 45 years 1st Financial has provided members with a full line of dependable financial products and services which returns profits to the members in the form of lower rates on loans and higher savings yields. The cooperative nature of credit unions enables 1st Financial to provide products and services at very reasonable rates.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union serves those who live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri and a wide array of companies throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. 1st Financial is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial organization committed to providing quality services to the membership while demonstrating safe and sound business practices. Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the U.S. Government.

Not a credit union member? If you live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri, you can open an account today with 1st Financial Federal Credit Union. Visit www.TheBetterWayToBank.org for more information.helpingPeople1st_littleBits_checkPres_1


Habitat for Humanity and Local Credit Union Build Foundation for a Local Family

St. Charles, MO – 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), focused on serving the community with education, job training, and sustainable housing resources, has partnered with Habitat for Humanity to help build a home for a deserving family in the St. Charles County area.

Habitat for Humanity of St. Charles County, a local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, has been building homes in the St. Charles area for 18 years. The volunteer organization has been able to reach out and help, “Over 250 family members begin a new life as homeowners and members of [their] community, rooted in their neighborhoods.” 1st Financial is a proud partner of Habitat for Humanity as they pursue their mission and continue making an impact in the local community.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union awarded a small grant of $1,141.65 to Habitat for Humanity through the Helping People 1st grant program. The Wentzville branch of 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, in the month of May, raised funds by raffling off gift baskets and hosting two bake sales. Employees of 1st Financial also had the opportunity to volunteer over 50 hours at the local Habitat for Humanity construction site.

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Lauren Grotegeers, Resource Development Coordinator at Habitat for Humanity, stated, “We appreciate the continued support from 1st Financial Federal Credit Union on our construction sites and in fundraising for our builds. We love to have sponsors be hands on with our mission.”

The employees of 1st Financial Federal Credit Union believe that a sustainable, solid household is one of the most important foundations in which a healthy financial future can be built on. Pat Johnson, Branch Manager of the Wentzville branch of 1st Financial, was quoted as saying, “Everyone should have a place to call home.” She continued to say, “Our volunteer day was very rewarding. We helped build not just build a house, but a home for a family in need. It is so worth it whenever we can break the cycle of poverty and build security for a family.”

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About 1st Financial Federal Credit Union

Like all credit unions, 1st Financial is a member-owned, financial cooperative. 1st Financial Federal Credit Union was chartered on September 3, 1968 as District 837 Credit Union by the International Association of Machinist members employed by McDonnell Douglas. Today, with over 30,000 members and nearly $200 million in assets, 1st Financial is a St. Louis metro area financial institution dedicated to helping members achieve their financial dreams. For over 45 years 1st Financial has provided members with a full line of dependable financial products and services which returns profits to the members in the form of lower rates on loans and higher savings yields. The cooperative nature of credit unions enables 1st Financial to provide products and services at very reasonable rates.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union serves those who live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri and a wide array of companies throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. 1st Financial is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial organization committed to providing quality services to the membership while demonstrating safe and sound business practices. Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the U.S. Government.

Not a credit union member? If you live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri, you can open an account today with 1st Financial Federal Credit Union. Visit www.TheBetterWayToBank.org for more information.

 


St. Louis Credit Union and Beyond Housing Join Forces to Make an Impact in the Local Community

Hazelwood, MO – The Helping People 1st Grant program was created by 1st Financial to support local non-profit organizations whose missions focus on job training, financial literacy, housing, or education efforts in the metro St. Louis area. In April, the Hazelwood branch of 1st Financial made a record breaking grant contribution to Beyond Housing.

Beyond Housing, a non-profit organization based in St. Louis, MO is changing lives daily by making an impact in the local community. Beyond Housing, founded in 1975, prides itself on making impacts in the following areas, “Education, housing, health, employment readiness and access, and economic development.” Chris Krehmeyer, CEO of Beyond Housing, has grown this organization to help as many communities possible in the St. Louis area.

During the month of April, 1st Financial Federal Credit Union collected donations from members while employees volunteered their time in support of Beyond Housing and their mission for helping entire communities become a better place to live.  “Beyond Housing is a nationally-recognized community development organization that provides support with housing, education, health, personal finance and employment” said Andrea Hale, Volunteer and Events Specialist, at Beyond Housing. Andrea went on to say, “Because of Beyond Housing’s employment readiness and access initiatives, 1st Financial wanted to do something special to support the efforts.”

To support Beyond Housing, the 1st Financial Hazelwood branch raffled off Cardinals Tickets, had bake sales, and barbequed to raise money. On May 3rd, the Hazelwood branch manager, Tanya Forsythe, presented a check in the amount of $1,188.83 to Beyond Housing.

About 1st Financial Federal Credit Union

Like all credit unions, 1st Financial is a member-owned, financial cooperative. 1st Financial Federal Credit Union was chartered on September 3, 1968 as District 837 Credit Union by the International Association of Machinist members employed by McDonnell Douglas. Today, with over 30,000 members and nearly $200 million in assets, 1st Financial is a St. Louis metro area financial institution dedicated to helping members achieve their financial dreams. For over 45 years 1st Financial has provided members with a full line of dependable financial products and services which returns profits to the members in the form of lower rates on loans and higher savings yields. The cooperative nature of credit unions enables 1st Financial to provide products and services at very reasonable rates.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union serves those who live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri and a wide array of companies throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. 1st Financial is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial organization committed to providing quality services to the membership while demonstrating safe and sound business practices. Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the U.S. Government.

Not a credit union member? If you live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri, you can open an account today with 1st Financial Federal Credit Union. Visit www.TheBetterWayToBank.org for more information.

 


Solving the Municipal Court Problem in St. Louis

12/29/2015– SAINT LOUIS-The St. Louis area has been on the world stage frequently in the past year and a half. The protest movement that grew from the unrest in nearby Ferguson eventually lead to Department of Justice investigations and the creation of the Ferguson Commission to determine the cause of the conflict and encourage solutions to save the region.  Investigators found that despite having only 22% of the state’s population, the St. Louis region represents 46% of the state revenue from municipal fines and fees. Municipal court corruption, specifically excessive fines and fees, became one of the main regional problems highlighted by the Ferguson Commission.

According to the report, “More than half the courts in St. Louis County engage in the “illegal and harmful practices” of charging high court fines and fees on nonviolent offenses like traffic citations and then arresting people when they don’t pay” and “the fining practices of certain courts often led to repeated incarceration, psychological harm, and potential loss of housing and employment.” The Commission’s report acknowledges that municipal court reform is one of the key next steps for the St. Louis region to take in order to turn the situation around.

One of the plans the city of St. Louis will use to combat the fine and fee epidemic in the municipal court system is the Civil Liberties Jobs Program. This pilot program between the City’s Municipal Court and St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (S.L.A.T.E.) gives unemployed young adults up to 24 years of age facing a non-violent municipal fine a better option than additional fines.

The City uses state and federal funding to pay for Civil Liberties Jobs Program participants to work in state and City parks and in City recreation centers, or be placed by STL Youth Jobs site or YouthBuild.   The Civil Liberties Jobs Program is a part of the City’s PIER Plan, which focuses crime reduction efforts through Prevention, Intervention, Enforcement, and Reentry.

Participants gain practical work experience while also taking classes to learn job skills, financial literacy, and leadership. Once participants complete the work, municipal judges cut their fines in half, giving young adults a chance to pay their debt and possibly find a full-time job.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union has been an active partner with Tishaura Jones, Treasurer of the City of St. Louis and S.L.A.T.E. since 2014. To ensure that the graduates of the Civil Liberties Jobs Program leave financially literate, 1st Financial provides free checking and savings accounts, online banking access, and direct deposit as well as comprehensive financial education to everyone in the program.

“This is a very important program for the St. Louis area,” said Bruce Franks Jr. a Mentor Director for S.L.A.T.E.’s Young Adults Program and the founder of 28 to Life, a social empowerment organization dedicated to building relationships between police and the communities they serve. “Many of the people served by this program would otherwise face massive barriers to paying their court fines on time.  By getting them job training, bank accounts, and teaching them financial empowerment, we are helping to overcome this barrier and helping to advance their quality of life.”

He continued, saying “1st Financial took a much needed step for this community. Most banks would have shied away from programs like this.  With this partnership, we can attack these issues from all sides and build a bright future for our city.”

For more information on Youth Build, please visit- https://www.youthbuild.org/about-youthbuild

For more information on S.L.A.T.E., please visit- https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/slate/

For more information about 1st Financial Federal Credit Union and the credit union difference, please visit www.1stfinancialfcu.org

About 1st Financial Federal Credit Union

Like all credit unions, 1st Financial is a member-owned, financial cooperative. 1st Financial Federal Credit Union was chartered on September 3, 1968 as District 837 Credit Union by the International Association of Machinist members employed by McDonnell Douglas. Today, with over 30,000 members and nearly $200 million in assets, 1st Financial is a St. Louis metro area financial institution dedicated to helping members achieve their financial dreams. For over 45 years 1st Financial has provided members with a full line of dependable financial products and services which returns profits to the members in the form of lower rates on loans and higher savings yields. The cooperative nature of credit unions enables 1st Financial to provide products and services at very reasonable rates.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union serves those who live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri and a wide array of companies throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. 1st Financial is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial organization committed to providing quality services to the membership while demonstrating safe and sound business practices. Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the U.S. Government.

Not a credit union member? If you live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri, you can open an account today with 1st Financial Federal Credit Union. Visit www.TheBetterWayToBank.org for more information.

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Dan Goeke graduated with a M.A. from Webster University in Advertising and Marketing Communications in 2012. He is currently a Marketing Specialist at 1st Financial Federal Credit Union from St. Charles Missouri.


Prison Recidivism and Financial Empowerment

12/29/2015–SAINT LOUIS-Prison recidivism is a growing problem for our region and the nation as a whole. The population of returning inmates has caused prison budgets to rise and is creating a generation of young men and women without the tools needed for redemption and a normal life. The prison system has shifted from containment for the worst members of society to a place where the poor, the mentally ill, and the downtrodden become caught in an endless cycle that robs them of their innocence, their humanity, and ultimately any chance they might have at a future.

A recent Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report found that 67.8% of the prisoners released in 30 states during the 2005 calendar year were back in prison by 2008. A large portion of these returning inmates find their way back behind bars due to a lack of education, a lack of financial literacy, and a lack of job opportunities for ex-convicts. A 2013 study by The RAND Corporation found that prison recidivism rates decrease by 43% when the inmate receives education while incarcerated.

The St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment ( S.L.A.T.E.) and the City’s Corrections Department partnered together to end the recidivism trend with a pilot program called From Prison to Prosperity which trains young adults ages 17-24 incarcerated at the Medium Security Institution. S.L.A.T.E. recently acquired state and private funding to provide 130 pre-trial detainees classes through Ranken Technical College during incarceration and career resources within the community once they are released.

The goals of the program are to 1) reduce the percentage of returning inmates to area prisons; 2) provide access to supportive, credentialed job training before and after release; 3) connect participants to real job opportunities; and 4) help them open banking and savings accounts and value fiscal responsibility.

Program participants receive comprehensive financial education from 1st Financial Federal Credit Union while they are in the program. Additionally, once they serve their time and earn their release, 1st Financial will also provide access to checking and savings accounts for the inmates.

“The Prison to Prosperity Program is amazing and should have been around years ago,” said Bruce Franks Jr. a Mentor Director for S.L.A.T.E.’s Young Adults Program and the founder of 28 to Life, a social empowerment organization dedicated to building relationships between police and the communities they serve. “The root cause for violence is a lack of education and job opportunities for many of our incarcerated youth. Providing these participants with a support system and structure during and after their time in prison is huge. ”

He continued, saying “the financial education and literacy training these participants receive is very important to the overall goals of the program. True financial empowerment gives these men and women goals, teaches them that saving money feels good, and fosters hope for the future. We appreciate 1st Financial’s support because they have taken a huge step forward; showing other businesses and law enforcement agencies that there is a better way to solve the problems our region faces.”

For more information on Youth Build, please visit- https://www.youthbuild.org/about-youthbuild

For more information on S.L.A.T.E., please visit- https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/slate/

For more information about 1st Financial Federal Credit Union and the credit union difference, please visit www.1stfinancialfcu.org

About 1st Financial Federal Credit Union

Like all credit unions, 1st Financial is a member-owned, financial cooperative. 1st Financial Federal Credit Union was chartered on September 3, 1968 as District 837 Credit Union by the International Association of Machinist members employed by McDonnell Douglas. Today, with over 30,000 members and nearly $200 million in assets, 1st Financial is a St. Louis metro area financial institution dedicated to helping members achieve their financial dreams. For over 45 years 1st Financial has provided members with a full line of dependable financial products and services which returns profits to the members in the form of lower rates on loans and higher savings yields. The cooperative nature of credit unions enables 1st Financial to provide products and services at very reasonable rates.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union serves those who live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri and a wide array of companies throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. 1st Financial is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial organization committed to providing quality services to the membership while demonstrating safe and sound business practices. Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the U.S. Government.

Not a credit union member? If you live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri, you can open an account today with 1st Financial Federal Credit Union. Visit www.TheBetterWayToBank.org for more information.

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Dan Goeke graduated with a M.A. from Webster University in Advertising and Marketing Communications in 2012. He is currently a Marketing Specialist at 1st Financial Federal Credit Union from St. Charles Missouri.