DATE: January 24, 2008

From: Financial Service Centers of America
Cynthia Vega (201.562.1029, cvega@fisca.org)
Stephen Altobelli (201.964.2369, saltobelli@mww.com)

Statement by Hank Shyne, Executive Director, Financial Service Centers of America, Responding to Opinion-Editorial Which Appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Authored by Former President Clinton and Governor Schwarzenegger

“We agree with President Clinton and Governor Schwarzenegger that every American should have complete access to a full range of financial services.

“For more than 70 years, the Financial Service Centers industry, now numbering more than 13,000 locations, has been providing millions of low and moderate income consumers with the financial services they need – many of which are not readily available at banks. Through new technologies, we even have expanded those financial opportunities with services that are, in essence, virtual bank accounts. Yet, we recognize that technology allows for even more opportunities.

“In fact, the Financial Service Centers of America (FiSCA), the national trade association representing the FSC industry, recently met directly with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, as well as its Advisory Committee on Economic Inclusion (ComE-IN), to make recommendations on how to enhance access. Additionally, Financial Service Centers already have introduced three key programs towards this goal:

  • National Saving Program: This first-of-its-kind savings program offers a no-fee, interest-bearing, federally-insured savings account linked to a prepaid debit card.
  • Credit Building Initiative: This initiative enables consumers and small businesses to build a credit file and score, based on their history of making rent, utility, phone, and other recurring bill payments that can be used to demonstrate creditworthiness, which helps secure access to credit.
  • Financial education program: FiSCA’s financial education program will directly target low- and moderate-income consumers, educating them on the products and services they use. The program is designed to reach consumers where they live, work and actually conduct their financial transactions. 

“FiSCA and its membership are committed to these initiatives and to others that would enhance economic opportunities to all Americans. We believe that banks and non-bank financial service centers can work together to benefit everyone. And, we welcome the opportunity to work with President Clinton and Governor Schwarzenegger on their initiative, and all others in pursuing that goal.”

About FiSCA

FiSCA, founded in 1987, is the national trade association representing financial service centers across the United States. FiSCA members provide a wide variety of financial services and products to their communities, including check cashing, money orders, money transfers, and electronic bill payment services, automatic teller machine access, government benefit and payroll payments, small dollar short-term loans, electronic tax preparation, prepaid debit cards, deposit acceptance services, public transportation fare and token sales, motor vehicle license plate and title distribution, postage stamp sales and numerous other services. For more information, please visit www.fisca.org.

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