The St. Joseph County Public Library today announced plans to expand its personal finance collections following receipt of a grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation (FINRA Foundation). The grant was awarded in response to the flooding that occurred in South Bend in February.
The additional tools and resources made possible by this grant will help ensure that residents have the information they need when making critical financial decisions as they repair and rebuild following the floods. Many area residents are still dealing with the repercussions of the February flooding months after the fact.
The Library maintains a commitment to providing personal financial resources to the community at all times but especially at times of need. “Local flooding has affected many members in our community, including our own library staff.” said Library Director Deb Futa. “We exist to help make people’s lives better, and this is just one more example of how we do it.”
Filing claims, accessing government resources, managing lump-sum payments from insurance companies, and meeting immediate expenses when income might be disrupted—these are just a few of the money challenges that residents in disaster areas must navigate.
FINRA Foundation President Gerri Walsh noted, “Many of us lack experience with these decisions. Nonetheless, we have to get it right the first time around or face long-term financial consequences. Fortunately, the Library has information that can help.”
The expanded personal finance collections at the Library are made possible by a $5,000 grant from the FINRA Foundation. For more than a decade, the FINRA Foundation has provided funding, staff training and programs to build the capacity of public libraries to address the financial education needs of people nationwide. Much of this has been accomplished in partnership with the American Library Association through a program known as Smart investing@your library®.
The FINRA Foundation is also providing the Library with multimedia materials that explain the red flags of financial fraud and what people can do to be vigilant and counter the persuasion tactics that fraudsters use.
It is estimated that consumer financial fraud costs Americans more than $50 billion a year, according to FINRA Foundation research. Financial fraud is especially prevalent following major natural disasters. Since it was established in 2005, the National Center for Disaster Fraud, which is part of the U.S. Department of Justice, has logged more than 70,000 disaster-related complaints from all 50 states. Financial fraud makes tough times all the more difficult for people recovering from the trauma inflicted by disasters.
The FINRA Foundation has issued an Alert with practical guidance to help residents protect themselves from fraudulent schemes. (See: www.SaveAndInvest.org/disaster-fraud-Indiana.)
Ms. Walsh observed, “Recovery follows disaster, but the path to recovery can be smooth or very bumpy. And financial fraud can be one of the biggest potholes along that road. The St. Joseph County Public Library has information to help people avoid the financial potholes and bring the route to recovery into sharper focus.”
For more information, contact Jennifer Henecke, Communications Specialist, via firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-235-4190.