Financial literacy is more important than ever, and Our Money Matters (OMM), a new initiative by Wells Fargo, strives to increase the financial savvy of minority and underserved communities — starting with college students. Recognizing that these communities have historically been among the most vulnerable to discriminatory banking practices and a lack of financial knowledge and resources, OMM strives to develop, support, and scale access to financial education and sound financial habits.
Our Money Matters seeks to provide scholarships, career exploration, and pathways to entrepreneurship. Through coordinated efforts with HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), OMM is helping alumni, staff and students get their financial health in order.
To learn more about the initiative, theGrio spoke with Darlene Goins, Executive Vice President, Wells Fargo, Banking Inclusion.
How did Our Money Matters get started?
“The initiative started with a partnership between HBCU CDAC (Community Development Action Coalition) and the Wells Fargo Foundation, focusing on opening pathways for economic advancement for minorities,” Goins explained. “Financial literacy is a real entry point where a difference can be made in the community, and in working with HBCUs, we are giving the necessary financial education and resources to tomorrow’s leaders.”
What benefits does the program provide?
The OMM program consists of three main components:
1. An online financial hub that allows participants to acquire financial literacy education and personal finance tools and resources.
2. A financial curriculum that includes curated courses that integrate into general education and degree programs to promote financial literacy for all participants.
3. The OMM service suite, in partnership with institutions, offers well-being resources on campus and in surrounding communities.
“All together, these components provide a comprehensive, full coverage approach to providing students every opportunity to obtain information and knowledge on how to handle money, build credit, and obtain wealth,” states Goins.
With so many students graduating with student loans and having questions about credit, what specific financial lessons does Our Money Matters provide for HBCU students? Here are a few of the lessons that the students can access through the platform:
- How to make and meet financial goals
- Assessing needs vs. wants
- Making smart financial trade-offs
- Understanding credit
Goins goes on to say that there are even Operation Hope financial coaches in select Wells Fargo branches for the community, and they can be accessed even if you do not have an account with Wells Fargo.
Has the program been successful so far?
Already, there is strong engagement on the platform, with 15,600 students and 28 HBCUs participating. “Right now, the most viewed course on the platform is budgeting and saving,” according to Goins.
What are future plans for the program?
“We have really seen great interest and engagement in the platform, and we want to continue to expand. We want to also include the smaller HBCUs and not just the largest ones that get the most attention,” Goins tells theGrio.
It is typically an inability to handle money on a day-to-day basis that leads to credit card debt, lack of savings, and minimal investing. With credit card debt reaching over $1 trillion and the student loan debt load at an all-time high, Our Money Matters is a program that has the potential to reach students before they overspend their way into debt or graduate with large amounts of loan debt.
With the financial resources that the Our Money Matters program offers, HBCU students will be able to get a head start on their financial futures.
Jennifer Streaks is Senior Personal Finance Reporter and spokesperson at Business Insider and a financial contributor at The Grio. A nationally recognized expert on money and affordable lifestyle living, Jennifer is an established financial columnist who has been featured on CNBC, Forbes, ABC, MSNBC, CBS, and more.
ANH is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, and Android TV. ANH’s Black Podcast Network is free too. Download theGrio mobile apps today! Listen to ‘Writing Black‘ with Maiysha Kai.