Arkansas: Employees and Employers Benefit from Workplace Financial Classes

Creating Hope in the Workplace is a unique series of five financial seminars taught in the workplace. It was conceived to provide better access to financial services for the growing Hispanic immigrant population in the Rogers, Ark., area.

The program reflects the crusade of its founder. While working with home mortgage loans, Roland Goicoechea of Arvest Bank noticed an extremely low net worth and many financial inefficiencies in his clients' information. After visiting with these clients, Goicoechea became convinced that knowledge could change many of their lives and make them less susceptible to abuses by unscrupulous financial institutions. But first he had to overcome two obstacles: how to get people to listen and where to reach them.

Goicoechea chose the one place everyone has to go each day—the workplace. Working with employers, he developed a system in which employees could attend seminars during their workday, without a loss of wages. The program is offered in both Spanish and English and is targeted toward moderate-income employees. The goal is to reach anyone who is not comfortable with the American financial tools available, either because of language barriers or a lack of information. Seminar topics include:

  • introduction of financial services,
  • how to create a credit history,
  • how to buy a home,
  • how to write a check in English and
  • how money grows with interest and monthly contributions.

Participants reap the greatest rewards. But employers benefit, too. They report reduced employee turnover, a high employee enthusiasm about the program and peaceful integration of immigrants into the community.

As for Arvest Bank, it reports more than 400 home loans and an increase in business of $40 million resulting from taking this small step to reach out to the unbanked.

Financial institutions interested in pursuing this type of outreach can purchase the Arvest Consulting Seminar Package and be trained in the successful use of the product.

For more information or to find out more about the Creating Hope in the Workplace program, call or e-mail Roland Goicoechea at Arvest Bank of Rogers, (rgiocoechae@arvest.com) (501) 621-4830.

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