SENATE, No. 1196

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 3, 2020

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator† NELLIE POU

District 35 (Bergen and Passaic)

Senator† NILSA I. CRUZ-PEREZ

District 5 (Camden and Gloucester)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Establishes three year Financial Empowerment Pilot Program.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† As introduced.

 


An Act establishing the Financial Empowerment Pilot Program.

 

†††† Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

†††† 1.††† a.†††† There is established in the Department of Community Affairs a Financial Empowerment Pilot Program.† The purpose of the pilot program shall be to address financial literacy and empowerment issues for economically vulnerable individuals in the State through municipal financial empowerment centers.† The municipalities of Camden, Newark, and Paterson shall participate in the pilot program with the department.†

†††† b.††† The pilot program, in consultation with the participating municipality, shall contract with a non-profit provider to establish a financial empowerment center in each of the participating municipalities in a location that is easily accessible to the residents of that municipality.† The financial empowerment centers shall facilitate appropriate forums, programs, or initiatives designed to educate the public regarding financial literacy and empowerment and provide personal financial coaching to economically vulnerable individuals.

†††† c.†††† The pilot program shall run for a period of three years following establishment of the financial empowerment centers pursuant to this section.

 

†††† 2.††† a.†† The pilot program shall establish metrics and standards to track counseling efforts and results for economically vulnerable individuals, and shall provide methods for implementing those standards at the financial empowerment centers, in the following areas:

†††† (1)†† the opening of or transitioning to a safe and affordable bank account;

†††† (2)†† the establishment of a credit score, or the increase in an existing credit score;

†††† (3)†† the decrease of non-mortgage debt; and

†††† (4)†† the increase in rate of savings.

†††† b.††† The pilot program shall provide the centers with support services, including materials on financial literacy and empowerment for publication and dissemination to the public and shall coordinate the activities of the pilot program with other entities that focus on financial literacy and empowerment, including other State agencies.

 

†††† 3.††† a.†† The program shall submit a report to the Commissioner of Community Affairs no later than two months after the conclusion of the pilot program.† The report shall include, at a minimum, information on the counseling efforts and results established and tracked pursuant to subsection a. of section 2 of this act, for each financial empowerment center.

†††† b.††† After receiving the report, the commissioner shall submit a report to the Governor, and to the Legislature pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), on the implementation and effectiveness of the pilot program no later than two months after the pilot program issues its report to the commissioner.† The report shall include the commissionerís recommendation on the advisability of the pilot programís continuation and expansion to additional municipalities in the State.

 

†††† 4.††† All monies received by the State from the settlement of the complaint of the Federal Trade Commission against Equifax, Inc., after accounting for any costs incurred by the Attorney General in participating in the complaint, shall be transferred to the Department of Community Affairs for the purposes of effectuating the provisions of this act.† The moneys may also be expended for appropriate and reasonable administrative expenses incurred in the administration of the pilot program by the department.

 

†††† 5.††† This act shall take immediately and shall expire upon submission of the final report required to be prepared under section 3 of this act.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† This bill establishes in the Department of Community Affairs a three year Financial Empowerment Pilot Program.† The purpose of the pilot program is to address financial literacy and empowerment issues for economically vulnerable individuals in the State through municipal financial empowerment centers.† The bill provides that the municipalities of Camden, Newark, and Paterson are to participate in the pilot program with the department.

†††† The bill requires the pilot program, in consultation with the participating municipality, to contract with a non-profit provider to establish a financial empowerment center in each of the participating municipalities in a location that is easily accessible to the residents of that municipality.† The financial empowerment centers are to facilitate appropriate forums, programs, or initiatives designed to educate the public regarding financial literacy and empowerment and provide personal financial coaching to economically vulnerable individuals.

†††† The bill requires the pilot program to establish metrics and standards to track counseling efforts and results for economically vulnerable individuals, and provide methods for implementing those standards at the financial empowerment centers, in the following areas:

†††† (1)†† the opening or transitioning to a safe and affordable bank account;

†††† (2)†† the establishment of a credit score, or the increase in an existing credit score;

†††† (3)†† the decrease of non-mortgage debt; and

†††† (4)†† the increase in the rate of savings.

†††† The program is required to provide the centers with support services, including materials for publication and dissemination to the public on financial literacy and empowerment and to coordinate the activities of the program with other entities that focus on financial literacy and empowerment, including other State agencies.

†††† Under the bill, pilot program is required to submit a report to the commissioner no later than two months after the conclusion of the pilot program.† The report must include, at a minimum, information on the counseling efforts and results established and tracked pursuant to the bill for each financial empowerment center.

†††† The bill requires the commissioner to submit a report to the Governor and to the Legislature on the implementation and effectiveness of the pilot program.† The report must include the commissionerís recommendation on the advisability of the pilot programís continuation and expansion to additional municipalities in the State.

†††† The bill provides that all monies received by the State from the settlement of the complaint of the Federal Trade Commission against Equifax, Inc., after accounting for any costs incurred by the Attorney General in participating in the complaint, †are to be transferred to the Department of Community Affairs for the purposes of effectuating the provisions of the bill.† The moneys may also be expended for appropriate and reasonable administrative expenses incurred in the administration of the pilot program by the department.

†††† The bill takes effect immediately and expires upon submission of the final report required to be prepared under the bill.