St. Louis Builds Credit (STLBC)
St. Louis, Missouri
Feature written in September 2020
FHLB Des Moines Member: St. Louis Community Credit Union
Poverty follows people from childhood to their senior years. Currently in St. Louis, almost 33% of children, 16.4% of seniors 65+, and 25% of the overall population, mainly minorities, are living below federal poverty levels.
For the last decade, St. Louis has ranked near the top of the list for unbanked and underbanked households. Households that do not utilize mainstream financial services, or who do but also frequent payday lenders and check cashers, spend a higher portion of their wages on fees and interest in order to manage their money.
Credit building is a critical tool for tackling income inequality and decreasing the racial wealth gap. STLBC brings together a network of community partners from the financial services industry and nonprofit sector to provide St. Louisans with increased access to the tools they need to build a prime credit score. All services offered through STLBC are free for anyone who lives or works in the St. Louis region.
Credit workshops, which are offered in-person and via live, interactive video streams, teach participants the basics of credit, strategies to establish or rebuild credit, and explore specific topics related to the subject like home buying or opening and managing a small business. For individuals wishing to receive more personalized guidance, financial coaches meet with clients to assess their current financial situation and credit standing, assist them in establishing reasonable financial goals, track credit improvement and other financial metrics (debt reduction, asset attainment, etc.), and provide ongoing encouragement to assist individuals in achieving their goals.
STLBC, in addition to building the financial capacity of participants, connects unbanked and underbanked people with safe and affordable financial products and services so that they can more economically manage their money as well as purchase wealth building assets like a home or small business.
Through STLBC program offerings, they hope to assist tens of thousands of St. Louisans in building credit that can be used to create generational wealth and ensure greater use of the mainstream financial services industry.