BY Steve Lenox

June 14, 2021


PATERSON, NJ – Paterson individuals and families with low and moderate incomes now have new advocates- in the form of trained FEC counselors- to help them manage their finances, pay down debt, increase savings, establish and build credit, and access safe and affordable mainstream banking products.

On Monday Mayor Andre Sayegh and the United Way of Passaic County announced the launch of the Paterson Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) offering professional, one-on-one financial counseling and coaching as a free public service to local residents.

The initiative is in partnership with the national Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund), and is one that has worked with almost 104,000 clients, helping them reduce individual debt by over $146 million, and increasing their families’ savings by close to $22 million, across the US. At the core of the FEC model, a statement said, is the integration of counseling into other social services, such as housing and foreclosure prevention, workforce development, prisoner reentry, benefits access, domestic violence services, and more.

“In Paterson, we believe in the power of local government to have a direct positive impact on residents’ lives,” said Mayor André Sayegh. “Meeting individuals where they are and empowering them financially – to reduce debt, save for college, own a home, start a business – will impact not only those individuals and families, but neighborhoods and communities.  This is especially important now as our community works to recover from the COVID 19 pandemic, and we’re glad the city is able to step in and provide this service.”

Counseling appointments are available online or in person at the United Way Office in Center City Mall at 301 Main Street in Paterson.  Interested residents can make an appointment at

The Paterson FEC, funded by a number of organizations including the CFE Fund, The Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation, Paterson Restoration Corporation, Bank of American Foundation, Columbia Bank Foundation, and PNC Bank Foundation, will also provide financial counseling to participants in Paterson’s Guaranteed Income Pilot Program. 

Community partners, who will work to integrate the FEC into their programs and encourage their clients to make financial counseling appointments, include the Paterson Alliance, New Destiny Family Success Center, NJCDC, Oasis, Paterson Habitat for Humanity, the Paterson Housing Authority, the Paterson Free Public Library, and Paterson Public Schools.

“Local leaders know first-hand the connection between family financial stability and community financial stability – and this connection is especially important during the current crisis,” said Jonathan Mintz, President and CEO of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. “Mayor Andre Sayegh and the City of Paterson are part of a growing national movement to bring free, high-quality financial counseling as a public service to their residents; we are proud to partner with Mayor Sayegh to help residents navigate the financial impact of COVID-19 and work towards a stronger financial future.”


Original article can be found here.