Mayor Lee & Treasurer José Cisneros Announce SF Financial Advice Line, Connecting San Franciscans to Free Financial Crisis Help & Money Management Advice

Two-Day Hotline for Real-Time Advice from Expert Financial Counselors

9/20/11—Mayor Edwin M. Lee and Treasurer José Cisneros today announced the SF Financial Advice Line, a two-day telephone hotline connecting San Francisco families to free, real-time, financial crisis and money management information from seasoned financial experts. SF Financial Advice Line will also provide referrals to free or low-cost counseling services from a network of culturally competent non-profit agencies.

“Everyone knows someone who is unemployed, dealing with foreclosure, or struggling to make ends meet,” said Mayor Lee. “SF Financial Advice Line is here to help, and I am thrilled to support this effort. Callers will receive information and referrals to address debt and credit management, budgeting. I look forward to taking calls and helping San Franciscans access advice and counseling to navigate these turbulent economic times. San Francisco is proud to be a leader to ensure everyone has the chance to be successful financially and build a better future for their families.”“Too many families in San Francisco are living on the financial edge as they struggle to deal with unemployment, rising household expenses, the subprime mortgage crisis, and the ongoing credit crunch,” said Treasurer Cisneros. “With just a simple phone call, San Franciscans can get critical information and referrals to dozens of organizations that will help them make sound financial decisions and avoid costly mistakes. Financial empowerment work is exactly the kind of innovation that is needed right now, both in San Francisco and all cities across the country.”

Modeled on New York City’s successful 2008 event called Your Money Helpline which provided free advice to 8,700 callers over a four-day period, SF Financial Advice Line will be available on September 27th and 28th from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. by dialing 2-1-1.

SF Financial Advice Line will be staffed by certified financial planners and members of the Office of Financial Empowerment’s Financial Education Network (FEN-SF) volunteering their time to help San Franciscans improve their financial capabilities. United Way of the Bay Area 2-1-1 will volunteer to manage phone calls, answer basic questions, and make referrals to experienced counselors. Everyone volunteering for SF Financial Advice Line will receive training from Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco. Valuable support is also being provided by Mission Asset Fund, San Francisco Smart Money Network, San Francisco Financial Planning Association, the San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment, and the Office of the Mayor.

Through the Bank on San Francisco initiative and Office of Financial Empowerment, the City and County of San Francisco has emerged as a national leader in the delivery of programs to increase financial inclusion and combat predatory practices. 

San Francisco has proven success with five groundbreaking programs, including: Bank on San Francisco, a model program to encourage everyone in San Francisco to open a checking account; The San Francisco Working Families Credit (WFC), which gives up to $125 to qualified low-income working families; Payday Plus SF, an alternative payday loan offered by six San Francisco Credit Unions; Kindergarten to College, an effort to focus on a children’s savings accounts to put all public school children on the path to college savings; and CurrenC SF, an employer engagement initiative to increase the take-up of direct deposit and other electronic pay citywide.

About FEN-SF
The Financial Education Network-San Francisco (FEN-SF) is a collaborative group of San Francisco’s nonprofit service providers, philanthropic funders, and local public sector representatives dedicated to improving the provision of financial education services in the City. Led by the City of San Francisco’s Office of the Treasurer and Charles Schwab Foundation, the mission of FEN-SF is to connect all San Franciscans to quality financial education by centralizing access to services, fostering learning communities among stakeholders and raising public awareness.