NEW YORK--()--The Migration Policy Institute today honored Citi with the 2012 E Pluribus Unum Prizes’ Corporate Leadership Award for its work to help remove financial barriers to naturalization for eligible United States immigrants and economically empower underserved individuals and communities. The presentation was made at the National Immigrant Integration Conference in Baltimore, Maryland.
“Through our support for Citizenship Maryland and NYCitizenship in Schools, Citi is committed to working with community and public partners to assist eligible, aspiring citizens in establishing both a national identity and a financial identity, which is essential to fully realizing their American dream”
Citi Community Development is a key supporter of Citizenship Maryland, an initiative launched in November 2011 that offers microloans to legal permanent residents eligible for citizenship. The loans help participants pay the $680 naturalization fee while at the same time building their credit histories and financial capacity. Citi provided staff and funding to develop, launch, and promote Citizenship Maryland, which is designed and run by CASA de Maryland. Citi has also funded a third-party evaluation of the program to assess its potential for replication in other states and communities.
The Corporate Leadership Award follows the announcement last week of Citi’s partnership with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and other organizations in the NYCitizenship in Schools program that was launched on September 20. NYCitizenship in Schools will provide free immigration information, assistance and financing options to eligible parents of students in the city’s public schools who are lawful permanent residents and seeking to begin the application process to become U.S. citizens (click here to watch the announcement with Mayor Bloomberg and Bob Annibale, Citi Global Director of Community Development and Microfinance).
In addition, in San Francisco, Citi is building on the programs in Maryland and New York City by working with the Mission Asset Fund to expand its Lending Circles for Citizenship program, which assists low income individuals to save towards covering the costs of applying for naturalization. Since this program was launched six months ago, more than 75 individuals have enrolled, and six individuals have already naturalized through this program.
The E Pluribus Unum Prizes program, established in 2008 by MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy with generous support from the J.M. Kaplan Fund, seeks to encourage the adoption of effective integration practices and inspire others to take on the important work of integrating immigrants and their children so they can participate in the mainstream of U.S. society.
“Through our support for Citizenship Maryland and NYCitizenship in Schools, Citi is committed to working with community and public partners to assist eligible, aspiring citizens in establishing both a national identity and a financial identity, which is essential to fully realizing their American dream,” said Bob Annibale, Citi Global Director of Community Development and Microfinance. “Programs like these provide access to guidance and resources that can lead to expanded education, employment and asset-building opportunities. Citi Community Development’s financial inclusion efforts aim to ensure that all families have access to appropriate financial services so they can achieve their long-term financial goals.”
Providing microloans to eligible applicants, who are recruited among participants in CASA de Maryland’s citizenship and other classes as well as through outreach by AmeriCorps volunteers, is just the first step. Recipients of the six-month naturalization loans are required to participate in financial counseling based on a curriculum focused on financial responsibility and savings. Program participants, who are often unbanked, are able to build credit histories as they repay their loans. And at final repayment, the $25 loan application is deposited into their new savings accounts to seed and encourage future savings. To date, Citizenship Maryland has a 100 percent loan repayment rate.
Results from Citizenship Maryland are being incorporated into a national financial inclusion policy platform by National Council of La Raza which will recommend policies to increase the economic integration of low-income individuals and immigrants into the financial mainstream and support long-term asset-building. These efforts are designed to demonstrate solutions that will help reduce the poverty rate in the Latino community and support asset-building and financial access.
“Citizenship has demonstrated benefits in terms of opening new opportunities for education, jobs, and increased income. And the economic empowerment of immigrants makes financial sense not just for them and their families, but for the economy as a whole,” said Margie McHugh, co-director of the National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy. “Nonetheless, two-thirds of all legal permanent residents living in the United States – more than eight million people – are eligible for citizenship but haven’t applied. The cost to apply is a barrier for many, so efforts such as Citizenship Maryland and Citi’s work with community partners are tremendously important.”
“The economic integration of immigrants into their communities and the U.S. workforce is crucial to their success and ability to become full partners in society – and there is a major role for business to play in economic integration. This is why we are so delighted to highlight the important economic integration and financial inclusion work that Citi Community Development is doing,” said Michael Fix, MPI senior vice president and co-director of the National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy.
Highlights of all of the winners of the E Pluribus Unum Prizes can be found at www.integrationawards.org.
Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.
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About Citi Community Development
Citi Community Development (CCD) is leading Citi’s commitment to achieve economic empowerment and growth for underserved individuals, families and communities by expanding access to financial products and services, and building sustainable business solutions and innovative partnerships. Our focus areas include: commercial and philanthropic funding; innovative financial products and services; and collaborations with institutions that expand access to financial products and services for low-income and underserved communities. For more information, visit www.citicommunitydevelopment.com.
About The Migration Policy Institute
The Migration Policy Institute is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank in Washington, DC dedicated to the study of the movement of people worldwide. MPI provides analysis, development and evaluation of migration and refugee policies at the local, national and international levels. Its National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy is a crossroads for policymakers, state and local agency managers, local service providers and others seeking to respond to the challenges and opportunities today’s high rates of immigration create in local communities. For more on MPI, please visit www.migrationpolicy.org.