Office of Financial Empowerment
The St. Louis Office of Financial Empowerment (“OFE”) is a public-private partnership dedicated to helping citizens make better financial decisions. Founded in 2014 by the St. Louis City Treasurer, the OFE furthers its mission by hosting financial literacy classes, encouraging personal responsibility, and participating in asset-building initiatives.
St. Louis is a part of a coalition of fifteen other cities, such as Chicago, Nashville, New York, San Antonio, and San Francisco, that have opened similar financial empowerment centers within municipal governments.
The OFE has an office in St. Louis City Hall with a staff person who provides financial education and credit counseling free of charge through Operation HOPE, a national non-profit leader in financial literacy. The Operation HOPE staff person is underwritten by the generosity of several local banks and financial institutions.
The OFE also works with several other banks and non-profits to provide over 20 different financial management classes on various topics, including How to Purchase a Home; Entrepreneurship; Investing; and Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness.
Another financial empowerment program is the College Kids Children’s Savings Account Program (“College Kids”). This program provides all kindergarten children in St. Louis public schools with a savings account for post-secondary education. Research shows that children with savings dedicated for college education are four times more likely to attend college. Additionally, College Kids ensures access to banking resources for under-banked citizens, while creating a culture of asset building for entire families.