mayor gesturing at podiumOn Tuesday Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the launch of two new programs to help low- and middle-income families grow their wealth: Boston Builds Credit and Bank On Boston.

“In Boston, we believe that a great city is one that leaves nobody behind….We’re looking at everything that we do here through the equity lens,” Mayor Walsh said.

Boston Builds Credit will help residents improve their credit scores through free financial education and one-on-one coaching. The program will start in Roxbury and expand to Dorchester and Mattapan in the following years.

“Credit opens the door to opportunity,” said Michael Durkin, CEO of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, one of the program’s partners.

“There’s income inequality, but there’s also expense inequality,” he said, noting that a poor credit score can cost a person upwards of $200,000 in excess fees over the course of a lifetime.

Bank On Boston will connect residents with safe and affordable financial products and services that can help them save, grow, and access their money. The program identifies local bank accounts that meet standards for good banking practices, known as Bank On Certified Accounts, to provide residents with a meaningful alternative to check-cashing and payday lending services that can charge burdensome fees.

Both programs are spearheaded by the Mayor’s Office of Financial Empowerment in collaboration with community partners.

Tuesday’s announcement was part of the convention of the Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Coalition, which is meeting in Boston from October 25-27. Boston joined the coalition in 2015.

To learn more about the newly announced programs, read the press release. Or read the Boston Globe article about Boston Builds Credit. 

crowd of people in chairs, TV cameras
Representatives from cities around the nation attended the program announcement at City Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2017.