SunTrust Foundation Awards $500,000 Grant to National Foundation for Credit Counseling

The SunTrust Foundation has awarded a $500,000 grant to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC), doubling its initial commitment to the organization in 2018, to support a large-scale program for improving the financial wellness of Hispanic and Latino families. The grant will allow the NFCC to expand its services for Hispanic/Latino consumers beyond its original scope of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and the Houston, Texas, metropolitan area to include all of Texas and Ohio.

"The SunTrust Foundation's grant helped us provide advanced financial counseling and education for thousands of Hispanic and Latino consumers in 2018," said NFCC President and CEO Rebecca Steele. "We can expand our pilot program with this funding and generate significant public awareness while reaching more people."

Using the NFCC's Sharpen Your Financial Focus® (Sharpen) counseling and education program, Hispanic/Latino consumers received a customized, one-on-one financial review with an NFCC certified counselor. They were then given targeted education sessions related to their specific situation, followed by individualized financial e-coaching with their personal financial coach through emails or text messages.

The grant's pilot program included enhanced financial education materials in Spanish and a dedicated NFCC Spanish language webpage. Through in-depth, quarterly reporting on initial counseling outcomes, client demographics and behavioral profiles, the pilot program was able to further the NFCC's and the overall financial counseling and banking industry's knowledge about the Latino consumer population. New impact reporting is expected this year that will outline post-counseling outcomes on how Sharpen financial counseling and education improved Hispanic/Latino clients' financial health over time.

"The SunTrust Foundation is proud of our partnership with NFCC to help more people access financial confidence-building resources," said Stan Little, president of the SunTrust Foundation. "We're pleased with the results of the pilot program and look forward to its continued success."

The Sharpen program has been proven to have a profound impact on participants' financial well-being. In 2016, independent researchers from The Ohio State University released their findings from an extensive assessment of the Sharpen program's credit counseling. This evaluation showed that Sharpen participants had dramatic reductions in their total debt, revolving debt and account delinquencies and made meaningful progress on their credit scores when compared to a group of non-counseled individuals.

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