In support of the Sharpen Your Financial Focus (Sharpen) initiative, National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) announced the nonprofit has received a $1 million commitment from Wells Fargo & Co. for financial counseling and education services for active military service members, veterans and their families. Since the 2013 launch of Sharpen, Wells Fargo has contributed a total of $5.5 million to the NFCC in support of these services.
"Providing meaningful and confidential financial counseling for our military service members and veterans is a key priority of the NFCC Sharpen Your Financial Focus program," said Rebecca Steele, president and CEO of the NFCC. "NFCC Members will continue to deliver impactful financial education to those who have dedicated themselves in service to our nation, thanks to ongoing support from Wells Fargo."
Wells Fargo works with the NFCC to bring Hands on Banking for Military classes and online resources to service members in the continental United States and Puerto Rico. In addition to education designed to keep military personnel and their families on a path to financial stability, the nationwide network of NFCC certified counselors provide personalized financial reviews, budget assistance, and concrete solutions to pressing financial concerns. Military and veteran groups seeking an NFCC representative to lead a class, or individuals interested in scheduling a confidential financial review with an NFCC Certified Financial Counselor.
More than 100,000 people have stabilized and strengthened their finances through the Sharpen program since its launch in 2013, and nearly one-quarter of those are active duty military, veterans and their families. Services are provided in English and Spanish and consist of the following:
- My Money Check Up is an online self-assessment that helps increase a client’s awareness of their own financial activities and overall financial health and provides ways to help.
- NFCC Certified Financial Counselors offer customized one-on-one financial reviews. These sessions intend to help clients establish goals and a personalized action plan.
- Hands on Banking for Military is an element of the financial education program specifically developed by Wells Fargo to address the unique needs of service members, veterans and their families at each stage of their careers and lives. The program offers 10 individual modules across a range of topics, from banking basics to managing money while deployed and planning for retirement, including information on the new Blended Retirement System.
- eCoaching, with automated email and text reminders, helps clients stay on track.
"Supporting the financial capability of service members and their families continues to be a top priority for Wells Fargo," said Jerry Quinn, Wells Fargo Military Affairs Program manager. "Our online Hands on Banking for Military and ongoing support for the Sharpen Your Financial Focus Program are among the many examples of how we help military members achieve their financial goals. We are grateful for the work NFCC does for financial readiness in our communities."
Independent research from The Ohio State University confirms that support has transformed the lives of those who use the Sharpen program. The study found that average debt for counseled individuals decreased by $17,000 during the course of a year-and-a-half after completing the program. Participants found improvements in their credit scores while becoming more confident in their money management skills.
About the NFCC
Founded in 1951, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) is the nation’s first and largest nonprofit dedicated to improving people’s financial well-being. With a national network of member offices serving 50 states and Puerto Rico, NFCC Certified Credit Counselors are financial advocates, empowering millions of consumers to take charge of their finances through one-on-one financial reviews that address credit card debt, student loans, housing decisions and overall money management.