The FEC Movement

Financial Empowerment Centers offer professional, one-on-one financial counseling as a free public service to enable residents to address their financial challenges and needs and plan for their futures. Nearly three dozen local governments across the country are already deploying more than 150 trained financial counselors to support clients’ banking, credit, debt, and savings goals. In partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies and others, the CFE Fund supports cohorts of local government leaders through FEC Academy to develop, launch, and implement financial counseling as a free public service, along with fielding strategic pilot and research projects to enhance program success.

The FEC Model

The Financial Empowerment Center model has operated municipal free services for fifteen years, and across nearly three dozen operational FECs has worked with more than 150,000 clients, helping them reduce debt by more than $225 million, and increase savings by $45 million. Professionally trained FEC counselors help clients with low to moderate incomes manage their finances, pay down debt, increase savings, establish and build credit, and access safe and affordable mainstream banking products.

The core tenets of the FEC model are:

  • Financial counseling is provided as a no cost public service, with counseling delivered one-on-one to empower clients to address complex financial challenges.
  • Counselors are professionally trained according to the CFE Fund’s rigorous FEC Counselor Training Standards and a Code of Ethics.
  • Counseling services are managed through rigorous data; the central FEC database collects over 200 client data points, and impact is measured against specific financial behavior change outcomes.
  • Because financial instability impacts the need for, and success of, other social services, strategic FEC partnerships with other services such as housing and foreclosure prevention, workforce development, prisoner reentry, and benefits access are critical.
  • Financial counseling serves a critical public need, and local government oversight provides for credibility, accountability, scale, and program sustainability.

The FEC Counselor Training Process 

Each FEC Planning Partner trains their financial counselors in accordance with the requirements and competencies detailed in the CFE Fund’s FEC Counselor Training and Code of Conduct Standards. The Standards delineate the breadth and depth of the financial content areas, counseling and coaching skills, practice and experiential learning, code of ethics mandates, and socio-economic and cultural context setting necessary to serve the diverse needs and backgrounds of FEC clients.

FEC Partner

FEC Partners

Planning Partners

By attending FEC Academy, local governments and their partners work toward launching a public financial counseling program using the FEC model.

  • Birmingham, AL
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Charleston, SC
  • Cuyahoga County, OH
  • Evanston, IL
  • Howard County, MD
  • Jefferson County, WI
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Macomb County, MI
  • Miami-Dade County, FL
  • Montgomery, AL
  • Mt. Vernon, NY
  • Nashua, NH
  • Nassau and Suffolk Counties, NY
  • Orange County, FL
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Pitkin County, CO
  • Rockford, IL
  • San Francisco, CA
  • South Bend, IN
  • Tucson, AZ

Implementation Partners

FEC Public Funders

Join the FEC Public Movement

The CFE Fund’s FEC Public partners are supporting the scaling and growth of this impactful, innovative public service.