Mayor Barry and leaders celebrate the first three years of the Nashville FEC

Carol Yochem, President, First Tennesse, Middle Tennessee, presents an oversize check for $100,000 to Mayor Megan Barry and the staff of Nashville’ Financial Empowerment Center. Left to right, are: Erik Cole, Director, Nashville Office of Economic Opportunity and Empowerment; Mayor Barry; Erin Akery, Financial Counselor, Nashville Financial Empowerment Center; Ashley Warbington, Financial Counselor, Nashville Financial Empowerment Center; Sabrina Franklin, Financial Counselor, Nashville Financial Empowerment Center; Carol Yochem; John Murphy, Financial Empowerment Manager, Office of Mayor Megan Barry; Kathy Payne, Financial Counselor, Nashville Financial Empowerment Center.

Carol Yochem, President, First Tennesse, Middle Tennessee, presents an oversize check for $100,000 to Mayor Megan Barry and the staff of Nashville’ Financial Empowerment Center. Left to right, are: Erik Cole, Director, Nashville Office of Economic Opportunity and Empowerment; Mayor Barry; Erin Akery, Financial Counselor, Nashville Financial Empowerment Center; Ashley Warbington, Financial Counselor, Nashville Financial Empowerment Center; Sabrina Franklin, Financial Counselor, Nashville Financial Empowerment Center; Carol Yochem; John Murphy, Financial Empowerment Manager, Office of Mayor Megan Barry; Kathy Payne, Financial Counselor, Nashville Financial Empowerment Center.

Mayor Megan Barry and leaders from around Middle Tennessee celebrated this week the first three years of the Nashville Financial Empowerment Center (FEC).

The Nashville FEC was established in 2013 and founded by the Bloomberg Foundation. Mayor Berry has continued the effort with her budget to keep the center operational.

The lunch, hosted by Waller Lansden, featured remarks from Jonathan Mintz, a nationally renowned expert on consumer financial protection and the president and CEO of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, and a special donation by First Tennessee Bank in support of the work by the FEC.

The FEC is in partnership with United Way of Metropolitan Nashville. The Bloomberg Philanthropies picked five cities to receive a grant to start an empowerment center. Nashville was the only Southern city.

“Nashville worked hard to make the center a success,” said Carol Yochem, Regional President for Middle Tennessee.

First Tennessee Bank believes that financial literacy is the key for making it a stronger community. The money will be used to help at-risk Nashvillians overcome financial hurdles that keep them from success.

It’s a community resource that anyone can benefit from and that creates a strong partnership with the counselors.

“We create a game plan where they understand where the issues lie, it empowers them in other areas of their lives,” said John Murphy, Financial Empowerment Manager.

“If people have better credit they will have a better chance for approval and lower rates and an overall better financial outcome,” Yochem continued.

In the last year, the Mayor’s Office of Financial Opportunity and Empowerment held 14,000 one-on-one financial counseling sessions. They helped reduce debt among the at-risk population by a total of $4.5 million.

Murphy said much of the success of the center wouldn’t be possible without the five dedicated counselors who supply free one-on-one financial counseling to a high demand of people. There is such a demand that there is currently a waiting list.

It’s free, professional and in the last year has helped increase saving among this population by more than $700,000.

They have helped many and they can help you too.