In partnership with the Mexican Consulate of Sacramento, HEC staff are helping Mexican co-nationals get access to the Financiera para el Bienestar (FINABIEN) cards through the HEC-administered Ventanilla de Asesoria Financiera (VAF). FINABIEN consists of two cards, a U.S. card that functions as a debit card and makes the transferring of funds to Mexico simpler through a mobile and web-based application. The second card is for the activation of a virtual bank account in Mexico that receives the transferred funds from the U.S. card. According to Economic Well-Being Program Assistant, Randy Davila, the cards are intended to help Mexican co-nationals create a savings account in Mexico. Access to banking in Mexico directly from the U.S. is a big need in the community.
According to Davila, HEC has helped more than 600 residents receive the FINABIEN cards. In addition to facilitating applications, HEC staff have also shown residents how to download and set up their mobile apps, so they’re able to maximize the benefits of the card. “When we are showing community members how to set up their cards, we’re also able to promote our financial education resources and coaching, as well as the mental health services offered through the Ventanilla de Salud (VDS), which is also supported by HEC staff” added Davila.
In closing Davila commented, “The work at VAF is more than simply providing the cards and showing community members how to use them, we’re building trust with them and showing them that there are people looking out for them.”