May 6, 2016
Yesterday afternoon, the Consulate General of Mexico, the City of Los Angeles, Citi and Youth Policy Institute announced the launch of the Financial Empowerment Window (Ventanilla de Asesoría Financiera), a program which provides free, culturally- and linguistically-competent financial counseling and education resources onsite at the Consulate General of Mexico in L.A., to support the economic empowerment of Mexican nationals and surrounding communities.
Youth Policy Institute (YPI), a nonprofit organization with a well-developed financial education program that serves Angeleno families, provides services at the Ventanilla. One-stop access to information and one-on-one financial consultation in high priority topics will help Mexicans and the broader Latino community participate more fully in the American financial system and achieve greater financial security.
Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Claudia Ruiz Massieu, reinforced “the Mexican government’s commitment to look after its immigrants’ well-being in the United States, in this particular case to help them get on a path to financial stability and success. We praise the strategy and financial program that will be practiced in the Financial Empowerment Window (Ventanilla de Asesoría Financiera).”
The Mexican Ambassador to the United States, Carlos Sada Solana, confirmed that “this new office at the Mexican Consulate represents a big step to give free information and advisory to the Mexican community in important topics that will help them to achieve greater financial security and a better understanding of the American financial system.”
"Growing L.A.’s prosperity means empowering all Angelenos with information that helps them to shape their own destiny," said Mayor Eric Garcetti. "With this expansion of the Ventanilla program, the largest population of foreign nationals in Los Angeles will gain access to important financial literacy resources, teaching them valuable budgeting skills needed to succeed in life."
This marks the first expansion of the Ventanilla program, which was first launched at the Consul General of Mexico in New York City in 2014 with the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) and Citi Community Development. In just two years of operation, according to a recent report by DCA and Citi, the Ventanilla program in New York City—where the Mexican immigrant population is substantially smaller than in Los Angeles—provided one-on-one financial counseling to 2,260 clients, hosted more than 40 financial education workshops with nearly 690 attendees, and distributed more than 44,000 pieces of financial education literature.
The new Los Angeles Ventanilla, located inside the Consulate’s premises, will promote financial capability in a space that is perceived as safe from financial predatory practices. Access to services in a trusted space will empower the Latino population to build positive financial identities to achieve financial stability, which are all essential to long-term asset building and to promote economic security.
“There are more than 1.5 million Mexican immigrants in Los Angeles—a community larger than the total population of Philadelphia—many of whom are living outside of the financial mainstream because of language or other barriers to access,” said Bob Annibale, Global Director of Citi Community Development and Inclusive Finance. “We are proud to support the expansion of the Ventanilla program, which will provide Mexican immigrants who are new to the U.S. financial system with access to vital resources for getting banked, gaining access to free tax prep and the Earned Income Tax Credit, establishing credit and building a secure financial future within the trusted and culturally relevant setting of the Consulate.”
It is estimated that 16,000 Mexican Consulate visitors will receive financial education and/or financial coaching services at the Los Angeles Ventanilla in the first year, as well as gain access to free tax preparation, matched savings accounts and other financial empowerment services from YPI.
“In the Promise Zone, the Promise Neighborhood and throughout Los Angeles, YPI works with young people and families on the path from cradle to college to career, and financial capability is often the first step on that path,” said Dixon Slingerland, Executive Director of the Youth Policy Institute. “The Ventanilla de Asesoría Financiera will send a strong signal to these families and many more throughout Southern California that someone’s there to help get them on that path—whether that means saving for college, getting out of debt, or simply having the support of trusted, mainstream financial services."
Yesterday’s launch was attended by Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Claudia Ruiz Massieu; Ambassador of Mexico to the United States, Carlos Sada Solana; Chief of Staff of Mayor Eric Garcetti, Ana Guerrero; Senior Vice President for Southern California of Citi Community Development, James Alva; Executive Director of Youth Policy Institute, Dixon Slingerland; and the President and CEO of Southern California Grantmakers, Christine Essel.
About Youth Policy Institute
For over 30 years, YPI has been breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty. YPI reaches more than 115,000 youth and adults annually at 137 program sites in Los Angeles. YPI is the only agency in the country to have been awarded all three signature White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiatives: Promise Neighborhoods, Choice Neighborhoods, and Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation; and is the lead implementation partner for the Los Angeles Promise Zone. Together, these initiatives form a place-based approach to fighting poverty, reducing crime, improving educational opportunities and creating access to jobs. For more information, visit ypiusa.org. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram @ypiusa
About the Citi Foundation
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.
Youth Policy Institute