Money smarts don't have to be puzzling!
NJCA's Financial Literacy Training can help.
NJCA's Financial Education & Technology Centers (FETCs), located in both downtown Newark and Camden, provide individuals, families and seniors with the financial and technological skills to make smart decisions about their money. With the growth of industry and technology, consumers have more options, but they may not have the "know-how" to make the best choices.
- Shop for the best bank
- Make the most of their money
- Get and/or keep good credit
- Purchase and improve a home
- Protect themselves from frauds and scams
- Classroom-style training at the Centers
- On-location workshops for community groups, social service agencies and job training centers throughout the state
- One-on-one counseling
- Train-the-Trainer sessions
Individuals who may not know financial basics can attend these workshops and become financially savvy. For seniors, we provide additional training that addresses choices they have regarding their federal payments (direct deposit) and how to use an ATM machine.
Our Financial Literacy Curriculum includes:
- Shopping for a Bank: Protecting Your Money
- Keeping the Money You Make
- Getting & Keeping Good Credit
- Home Improvements
- Predatory Lending: Avoiding Financial Problems by Recognizing Frauds
- Reducing Risk: What You Need to Know About Home & Auto Insurance
- Smart Car Buying
- Understanding Taxes: Pay Only What You Owe
- Investing Basics
- Being a Smart Utility Consumer
- EFTElectronic Funds Transfer (Direct Deposit); How to Use an ATM
Computers are available to consumers who want to learn to use on-line banking and to pay bills using the Internet. Consumers can come to the Centers and hone their skills in our state of the art Technology Rooms.
At the FETCs, participants can:
- Learn how to use computers
- Access the Internet for on-line banking and for payment of bills
- Obtain and compare financial services available on-line
Through this campaign, NJCA offers a comprehensive multi-media educational effort to reach and teach consumers and community leaders how to identify, avoid and report predatory lending abuses.
Our fair housing & predatory lending program also includes one-on-one counseling for victims of predatory lending to help them avoid foreclosure.
NJCA’s program is sponsored in part by HUD’s Fair Housing Initiative Project (FHIP) — Education & Outreach Initiative. As a fair housing agency, NJCA has the ability to report housing discrimination complaints to HUD, as well as make referrals to other local, state or federal agencies. For more information on what to do if you or someone you know is a victim of predatory lending and/or housing discrimination, contact NJCA at 973-643-8800.
These workshops are conducted in partnership with Legal Services of NJ and Seton Hall University’s Center for Social Justice to educate HUD-certified loan counselors on fair housing and predatory lending and possible remediation strategies.
NJCA's Financial Education program builds knowledge and skills around asset-building strategies such as homeownership, Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), education and other savings-match programs, tax credits, and utilization of financial and technological services that give those trapped at the lower end of the economic scale a chance to move up and acquire a stake in the community.
Recently NJCA was selected as one of two organizations that will provide mandatory financial literacy training for participants in New Jersey's Individual Development Account Program. (IDAs are matched savings accounts designed to help low-income and low-wealth families accumulate a few thousand dollars for high return investments in education, homeownership, and small business ownership).
As part of our Loan Counseling and Financial Education Programs, New Jersey Citizen Action also sponsors the Homeownership Institute, a partnership with municipalities that prepares residents for homeownership.
Through the Institute, up to 30 low- to moderate-income individuals are selected by the municipality to participate in a homebuyer development program. These individuals are required to attend and successfully complete 6 classes on budgeting, credit & credit repair, utilities, insurance, home improvements, and predatory lending. Upon successful completion, the participants enter loan counseling if they want to purchase a home.
The partnering municipality then provides participants with assistance ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 towards the purchase of a home. Recent partners include Asbury Park, Red Bank, Perth Amboy and Neptune.
Clients interested in becoming first-time homebuyers can participate in our Loan Counseling Program that will take them through the entire process, from becoming "credit ready" to "mortgage ready". A loan counselor will instruct the client on what steps and what procedures are needed to reach the goal of home ownership.
Through our Loan Counseling Program we provide one-on-one counseling sessions and an advocate to assist homebuyers through the mortgage process. Over 10,000 families have already purchased homes. Learn more.
A Home of Her Own: Women's Housing Initiative is NJCA’s statewide outreach program, targeted to low- and moderate- income women. Interested first-time homebuyers can come to our seminar and learn about our Loan Counseling program.
At the seminars, women who graduated from the Loan Counseling program and own their own homes share their inspirational stories with the audience.
Find out more about the program, and upcoming events.
NJCA's Peer Mentoring Program matches women who have successfully completed our Loan Counseling Program and purchased a home with potential homebuyers who need long-term counseling before they can purchase their own homes.
NJCA would like to acknowledge the following partners that have provided support for our Financial Education & Technology Centers:
- The Citizen Policy & Education Fund of NJ,
- The Annie E. Casey Foundation,
- The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development,
- Fannie Mae Foundation,
- Prudential Foundation,
- Heron Foundation,
- First Union / Wachovia Foundation,
- PNC Foundation,
- Independence Bank Foundation,
- Valley National Bank,
- U.S. Department of Treasury, and
- The Black United Fund
Newark, NJ 07102
433 Market Street, Suite 201
Camden, NJ 08102
Small Business Forum — April 29, 2009
On April 29, 2009 New Jersey Citizen Action, along with Wachovia, The Port Authorityof NJ & NJ, and AT&T, hosted a Small Business Forum Luncheon at Z.P.A. in Perth Amboy, NJ. The event attracted over 75 small business owners, those who are considering opening their own businesses, and representatives of local and state economic development organizations. Slideshow of the event.
Photos courtesy of Mark Anthony / portraitefx of Middlesex.
Small Business Forum — October, 2008
On October 7, 2008 New Jersey Citizen Action, along with Wachovia and AT&T, hosted a Small Business Forum Luncheon at the Winfield Scott Ballroom (Club Ole) in Elizabeth, NJ. Read the complete Media Release.