The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions and Equifax Inc have teamed up for an initiative to provide financial literacy, counseling and more to the greater Atlanta community.

The On the Rise Financial Center aims to provide local consumers with “affordable banking, alternatives to payday loans, affordable home mortgages, and a suite of financial services designed to empower residents to achieve their financial goals,” according to a press release from the Federation.

The center is intended to be a flagship for the Federation's Pathways to Financial Empowerment program, which is designed to ”strengthen and expand the provision of financial counseling in the credit union field, integrate counseling with financial products, and track and demonstrate impact.”

Cathie Mahon, president and CEO of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions
Cathie Mahon, president and CEO of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions

The project is the result of two years of collaboration between the Equifax Foundation and Community Affairs staff, working in tandem with The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and other partners have been on the ground in Atlanta's Westside neighborhood to develop a long-term strategy focused on improving the financial futures of the families in the community.

The facility recently began holding group financial education classes, one-on-one financial counseling and coaching, education for home ownership, and access to financial products and services. Four local credit unions -- the $23 million 1st Choice Credit Union; the $42 million B.O.N.D. Community Credit Union; the $62 million Credit Union of Atlanta, and the $335 million Peach State Federal Credit Union of Lawrenceville, Ga. – will be involved in this enterprise by staffing these educational activities and provide additional support with financial products and services.

"The much-needed financial resources and education On the Rise Financial Center provides will allow residents to participate and benefit from Westside Atlanta's revitalization," said Cathie Mahon, president and CEO of the Federation. "We are grateful for the community collaboration with local community development credit unions and Equifax, to create the Center and offer residents of the Westside a powerful financial education platform and complimentary credit union tools which will help them seize a stronger financial future."

In addition, Invest Atlanta, the City of Atlanta's economic development agency, has awarded a Westside Tax Allocation District Community Improvement Fund grant to provide equipment and furnishings for the center.

"One of the best ways to strengthen communities and enable access to credit is by ensuring residents have the means and educational resources to make sound financial decisions to prepare for key milestones in life," said Dann Adams, president of Global Consumer Solutions at Equifax in a statement. "For this project, Equifax has been a committed partner in providing access to affordable financial products to help Westside residents achieve their goals."

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