Preventing the Cycle
By Agustin ’16
One of the most talked-about ideas regarding JIFFI is the somewhat cliché quote of breaking the cycle of payday loans – breaking the cycle of poverty. With our loans at a significantly lower interest rate and a comfortable repayment period, our clients are able to successfully escape their ongoing debt with predatory services. However, because of their economic vulnerability, our clients are still exposed to the causes and conditions responsible for initiating their cycle of debt in the first place. In our short history, we already experienced the case of a repeat client, a client that escaped a debt cycle but fell into a new one a few months later. This is why our Financial Empowerment Division exists because in order to efficiently fulfill JIFFI’s mission of financial inclusion we must not only break the debt cycle of our clients, but aid to prevent new debt cycles as well.
In the Financial Empowerment Division, we strive to develop a relationship with our clients that allows us to guide them to healthy finances. We truly believe and we are convinced that in America there is no condition too extreme and no income potential too low. We believe that under current economic and political conditions, any of our clients with the right mindset and the proper tools can lead a life of financial dignity. The way we present the proper tools to our clients is through our six coaching modules that cover all necessary financial knowledge. Discipline is something we can not provide, but we do enhance it and encourage it through reflection and guidance in our one-to-one meetings with our clients. If we are unable to encourage healthy personal finances in our clients, then our efforts have minimal impact on their potential to fall in debt again.
If you think about it, JIFFI’s mission of financial inclusion does not just battle predatory services in our community, it also challenges a lack of financial education and the presence of financial illiteracy. This is why looking forward we do not limit our efforts to loans and personal financial coaching. To truly change our communities’ financial realm we must constantly innovate products and services that do not only break debt cycles, but enhance prevention of poverty as well. There is no such thing as a financially inclusive community without universal financial literacy.