This financial education center offers one-on-one consulting, and can direct clients to over 70 social organizations.
By Tracey Edwards
The Magnolia Place Community Initiative is a community partnership that provides health, educational, economic, and social services under one roof at the Magnolia Place Family Center. Over 70 organizations have come together to serve the communities surrounding Washington Boulevard and Hoover Street.
When Union Bank opened a financial education center there last year, one of the goals was to educate the community on the importance of banking. Jessica F. Vielmas, Union Bank’s expert community banker, takes time to answer questions and leads clients in the right direction. She works to ensure that people are not in financial trouble.
“Nobody likes to be in a situation where there's not enough money to cover basic needs,” she said. “Understanding how the bank can work for you finding the right solution to your current situation helps alleviate some of that stress. Talking about money is emotional. Sometime it's good stress, and sometimes it's not-so-great stress. So it's important that people realize that this is something that you need.”
Vielmas has helped clients with credit, home and business loans, and budgeting. For some community members, simply learning how to open an account and read their bank statement can make a big difference in their financing.
In many cases, financial issues are connected to other problems, and this center can connect people with services that go beyond banking.
“Money is an emotional topic,” Vielmas said. “When you're at a (typical) bank and you're talking with a client, and you hear things that are going on with them economically, you can pretty much only address bank products and services, and try to alleviate things that they're going through. But at this center, we work with the organizations here. So we can give that extra support that low-to-moderate income families need.”
In many cases, Vielmas has directed clients to non-profit organizations within the Magnolia Place Community Initiative to solve an issue.
“Economic development and financial education are social issues,” she said. “So we work with the nonprofits here. It's part of Union Bank giving back to the community.”
The Magnolia Place Family Center is located at 1910 Magnolia Avenue. To make an appointment with Vielmas, call (213) 598-5368.