The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay and Fifth Third Bank (Tampa Bay) recently announced the launch of “Pay It Forward”, an innovative program to provide no-interest loans and financial empowerment to working families in the Bay area.
The joint program targets families whose poor credit record often puts them at the mercy of high interest lenders. Its goal is to promote self-sufficiency by enabling families to borrow money for essential needs – such as a car repair so they can get to work – benefit from banking services, and open a pathway to rebuilding positive credit.
The Pay It Forward program is funded by gifts and contributions to the Crisis Center. As families pay back the money they have borrowed, the funds become available to help more families in similar situations.
“The Pay it Forward loan program was first conceived by members of our Board of Directors to assist hard working families who are facing unique financial obstacles,” said David Braughton, President and CEO of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. “This program represents our commitment to finding new and innovative ways to help people help themselves through a financial crisis.”
The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay is responsible for reviewing loan applications and approving loans. Fifth Third Bank (Tampa Bay) provides financial guidance with the loan recipients to provide them with life skills and resources that will help them make sound financial decisions long into the future. The initial goal of the program is for the Crisis Center to provide loans to 10-15 families per year. Loan applicants must be a client of the Crisis Center, agree to attend a Money Management class and receive case management services for the duration of their loan repayment period.
“We are excited to partner with the Crisis Center on the Pay It Forward program that will positively impact the well-being of these individuals in our community,” said Brian Lamb, President and CEO of Fifth Third Bank (Tampa Bay). “The financial empowerment opportunities Fifth Third will offer through this program will hopefully help these families reestablish their credit and enhance their ability to live without uncertainty.”
Two Pay It Forward loans were issued in June. The first was made to a family to replace their air conditioning unit so that the husband, who is in a wheelchair and has a medical condition exacerbated by heat, is able to remain safely at home while the wife is at work. The second loan was issued to a single mother with two young children, one of whom is severely disabled. The loan will be used to purchase a reliable car so the mother can continue to work and support her children.
For more information on Pay it Forward or the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, visit www.crisiscenter.com. For more on Fifth Third Bank, visit www.53.com.