Office of Financial Empowerment
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News from OFE

Monday, June 16, 2014
STATEMENT FROM CONSUMER AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER JULIE MENIN ON ATTORNEY GENERAL SCHNEIDERMAN’S ANNOUNCEMENT THAT CAPITAL ONE WILL STOP USING CHEXSYSTEMS TO EVALUATE CONSUMER’S CREDIT RISK ALLOWING MORE NEW YORKERS TO OPEN BANK ACCOUNTS
“Because of Capital One and Attorney General Schneiderman’s bold leadership, New Yorkers face one less barrier to opening bank accounts. Many of our Office of Financial Empowerment clients have been denied access to bank accounts, which is why we call on all financial institutions to follow Capital One's lead and stop using ChexSystems and other consumer reporting databases to deny hardworking New Yorkers the ability to open bank accounts for minor ‘mistakes’ such as overdrawing by a small amount. We also thank Capital One for expanding its support of our work to educate, empower and protect low-income New Yorkers to help them build assets and make the most of their financial resources.”

Friday, June 13, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS LAUNCHES PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGN TO ENCOURAGE NEW YORKERS TO GET FINANCIAL COUNSELING AT THE CITY’S FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT CENTERS
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Julie Menin today announced the launch of “You Can...,” a public awareness campaign that lets New Yorkers know that they can go to one of nearly 30 Financial Empowerment Centers across all five boroughs to get free, one-on-one, professional financial counseling. The campaign features five clients and their stories about how counselors at the City’s Financial Empowerment Centers helped them take control of their debt, save for the future, improve their credit score, and open bank accounts. The advertisements are running in the city’s subway cars and stations, as well as online and in a dozen citywide and community newspapers in every borough, both in English and Spanish.

Thursday, May 22, 2014
STATEMENT FROM CONSUMER AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER JULIE MENIN ON THE “JUSTICE FOR JOB SEEKERS” LEGISLATION ANNOUNCED BY ASSEMBLYMAN FRANCISCO MOYA TODAY
“Assemblyman Moya's legislation will strengthen the Department's ability to protect job seekers, especially low-wage workers, from predatory employment agencies that lure consumers with the promise of jobs, charge fees, and then fail to deliver.

Friday, May 16, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER JULIE MENIN URGES NEW YORKERS TO PROTECT THEMSELVES AGAINST IDENTITY THEFT AT THE CITY'S 7TH ANNUAL SHRED FEST
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Julie Menin and the shredding company LionCage Shredding will gather in Union Square this Sunday to kick off the City's seventh annual Shred Fest, a free paper-shredding event to increase public awareness about identity theft prevention. On Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., New Yorkers can shred personal documents for free at 10 locations throughout the five boroughs

Friday, March 14, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS REMINDS NEW YORKERS THAT THERE'S ONE MONTH LEFT UNTIL THE APRIL 15 TAX DEADLINE AND TO USE THE CITY'S FREE SERVICES AND CLAIM TAX CREDITS
With one month left until the April 15th tax deadline, the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) encourages New Yorkers who made $58,000 or less in 2013 to file their taxes using the City's free filing options and claim important tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the NYC Child Care Tax Credit. This year, the City has more free ways to file a return than ever before with the expansion of the Virtual VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program.

Monday, March 10, 2014
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS AND THE CONSULATE GENERAL OF MEXICO IN NEW YORK CUT THE RIBBON ON THE VENTANILLA DE ASESORÍA FINANCIERA TO PROVIDE FINANCIAL COUNSELING SERVICES TO MEXICAN NEW YORKERS
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) First Deputy Commissioner Alba Pico, Ambassador and Consul General of Mexico Sandra Fuentes-Berain, and President of the Mexican National Agency for the Protection and Defense of the Users of Financial Services Mario Di Costanzo today cut the ribbon on the first Ventanilla de Asesoría Financiera (Financial Counseling Window) at the Mexican Consulate of New York and kicked off the Consulate’s Financial Education Week. The Ventanilla will offer one-on-one financial counseling to Mexican New Yorkers, provide access to a broad network of services at the Consulate, and help Mexican nationals and families living in New York City achieve greater financial security. The program is made possible through generous support from Citi Community Development in partnership with the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund and counseling services are provided by Ariva and Qualitas of Life Foundation.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014
THE CITY MAKES IT EASIER FOR NEW YORKERS TO FILE TAXES FOR FREE WITH MORE SITES THAN EVER BEFORE AND VIRTUAL SITES WHERE FILERS CAN DROP OFF TAX DOCUMENTS AND PICK UP COMPLETED RETURNS LATER
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) today launched New York City’s 12th Annual Tax Credit Campaign. The tax season has begun and the IRS is now accepting 2013 returns. This year, the City has more free ways to file a return than ever before with the expansion of the Virtual VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program. Fast, easy and convenient, Virtual VITA sites are coordinated by the Food Bank For New York City and taxes are completed by IRS-trained preparers. They allow filers to drop off their tax documents and return later to review and file the completed return. Across the five boroughs, there are 100 free sites, both virtual and traditional and eligible New Yorkers also have the option to file for free online at nyc.gov/taxprep. The SaveUSA program is also offered at select VITA sites for its seventh year. SaveUSA is unique savings program for tax filers that offers a 50 percent match if they deposit at least $200 of their tax refund into a SaveUSA account and maintain the deposit for one year.