New Roots Credit Partnership

Predatory lending is a national problem, but it has been particularly damaging in Mississippi, the state with the highest per-capita concentration of payday lending stores, whose APR can reach up to 521 percent. These risky loans threaten the very financial security borrowers seek. To help eliminate this problem the Center has created a bold solution; the New Roots Credit Partnership, a unique public-private partnership designed to fight predatory lending and provide a new kind of access to fair lending for Mississippi’s hardworking families. Backed by the Clinton Global Initiative, this innovative program combats predatory lending practices through a combination of public education, grassroots outreach and workforce development.

The New Roots Credit Partnership is unlike anything done in Mississippi before. The program is built to meet people where they are: approaching workers in the workplace and in their communities to offer financial literacy training as well as quality loan products; whose consumer-friendly terms will propel them toward economic security during periods of financial need. The program links employers, community leaders and financial institutions, to engage Mississippians who have been shut out of the economic mainstream for generations.

The City of Jackson enthusiastically made the program available to their 2,400 employees with a unanimous vote by the city council. "The war on poverty has to be fought in the halls of legislative houses. Today, the Jackson City Council took another positive step towards empowerment of its citizenry through anti-poverty legislation," said Tony Yarber, city council member.

New Roots and its financial literacy piece will be of immediate assistance for families seeking economic stability. The South Delta Regional Housing Authority and their tenants were first to complete a tier of financial literacy classes, which taught them how to manage a household’s finances and affordable options to build good credit.

The Center is actively recruiting corporate partners for this unique initiative, which can be scaled to meet the needs of any employer. Watch the video below to see how the New Roots Credit Partnership made a positive change for one Mississippi family.