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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Military Saves Events Happening Across Washington

As part of the Washington Finance Alliance, Washington Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) is pleased to support our military personnel with four Military Saves Week events this week – at Fairchild Air Force Base, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor and the Coast Guard in Seattle.

The Washington Finance Alliance is a group of organizations - including Army One Source, The Dept. of Financial Institutions, American Red Cross, Better Business Bureau, and more - devoted to promoting and enhancing financial education throughout Washington State, particularly for military servicemembers and their families.

Holly Petraeus, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Assistant Director of the Office of Servicemember Affairs, is headlining these events – talking directly with base leaders, servicemembers, family members and local organizations supporting our military personnel about the financial challenges our military members face and how the CFPB and local organizations can help.

Learn more about how the CFPB is helping servicemembers at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/servicemembers/

Learn more about Washington Saves Week at http://www.dfi.wa.gov/saves-week/

Holly Petraeus Talks with Servicemembers

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Washington Saves Week

Governor Jay Inslee has proclaimed February 23 – 28, 2015 as Washington Saves Week.

Washington Saves Week is a part of the America Saves Week campaign coordinated by America Saves and the America Savings Education Council.

Started in 2007, the Week is an annual opportunity for organizations to promote good savings behavior and a chance for individuals to assess their own saving status. Across the country, hundreds of organizations participate in the Week reaching millions of people.

The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) is a proud supporter of Washington Saves Week and encourages all Washington residents to review their savings strategies and to learn more about resources and programs available to them in their community.

Washington Saves Week Website

We have developed a Washington Saves Week website at http://dfi.wa.gov/saves-week.

On the website, you’ll find:
  •  Savings tips
  •  Information about local programs
  •  Links to resources
  •  And how your organization can get involved
Happy saving!


  

Thursday, February 5, 2015

FINRA Foundation-Funded Study Documents Effectiveness of State Financial Education Mandates

A FINRA Investor Education Foundation-funded study released today examines the effectiveness of state mandates on financial education for high-school students, documenting notable improvements in credit outcomes for young adults who were exposed to rigorous programs.

The study selected three states that mandated financial education in high schools after the year 2000 (Georgia, Idaho and Texas) and compared the change in credit outcomes for young adults in those states with young adults in adjacent control states where no state-mandated financial education was implemented.

The study found that three years after implementing a financial education mandate, all three states saw significantly increased credit scores, and young adults in all three states had lower delinquency rates on credit accounts.
  • Credit scores improved by 11 points in Georgia, 16 points in Idaho and 32 points in Texas.
  • These gains translate into a 2 percent, 3 percent and 5 percent increase in credit scores in Georgia, Idaho and Texas, respectively.
  • Three years after the states implemented their financial education mandate, 90-day delinquency rates on credit accounts decreased in all three states.
  • Texas had the largest decrease in delinquency rate—a 6 percentage point drop, which translates to a relative decrease in delinquency rate of 33 percent.

For full details check out the study linked below.

State Financial Education Mandates: It's All in the Implementation (pdf)

Friday, January 30, 2015

Are You Eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit?

Today is Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day in Washington.

Low-income people can reduce or eliminate the amount of federal income taxes they pay by claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit on their 2014 income tax returns. Some may even qualify for a lump-sum payment if the credit exceeds the amount of taxes owed.

Last year, the average Earned Income Tax Credit refund in Washington was $2,145 per person. Many Washington households, including seniors, those with lower incomes, and non-English speaking residents, do not know they are eligible or how to claim the credit.

Individuals can receive a tax refund of up to $6,143 depending on their eligibility. Even if no federal income tax is owed, a tax return must be filed in order to claim the money. The Department of Commerce and Department of Social and Health Services are partnering with other agencies and organizations across the state to raise awareness about the Earned Income Tax Credit and resources for free tax return preparation.

How To Find Out If You Qualify
Individuals can find out if they qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit by visiting the Internal Revenue Service website at http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/EITC-Home-Page-Its-easier-than-ever-to-find-out-if-you-qualify-for-EITC .

Free tax preparation services are available to many low- and moderate-income families, by calling 2-1-1 and asking for “free tax preparation locations” or searching “free tax prep” at www.irs.gov.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

KOMO Story: Most Internet Lenders Are Illegal

Here's a good reminder to work with licensed lenders.

KOMO TV recently ran a story on internet lenders operating illegally in Washington state. Footage below.