Latino organizations and Santander Bank launch financial pathway to citizenship program

Redacción El Sol | 8/10/2017, 4:59 p.m.
Latino organizations and Santander Bank launch financial pathway to citizenship program

On Monday, August 14, 2017, at 2:30 PM, at the offices of FINANTA, 1301 N 2nd St Philadelphia PA 19122, Ceiba, FINANTA, and Santander Bank will announce the launching of a pilot program that enables low-to-moderate income immigrants to save and secure low-cost loans for expenses associated with attaining US citizenship.

The effort, titled Programa Adelante (The Forward Program), also provides intensive financial literacy education, one-on-one credit and budget counseling, immigration related workshops, and free tax preparation. At the end of the program, not only will participants have increased economic ability to apply for an immigration remedy, but their enhanced financial literacy will enable them to more effectively integrate into the American economy in a secure way.

"It is great to be part of a program that helps people achieve their dream of US citizenship and, through that, build on other American dreams like homeownership and financial security," said Luis Mora Rechnitz, President of FINANTA, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) serving unbanked and underbanked low-income, immigrant, and minority entrepreneurs, consumers, and first-time homebuyers in the Philadelphia region.

"We are proud to be the first to develop a program like this in Pennsylvania. For some families, the cost of applying for citizenship is unaffordable, yet citizenship is so important to the economic mobility of immigrant families. This program offers a safe, strong, and affordable financial solution," said Will Gonzalez, Executive Director of Ceiba, a community-based organization that promotes the economic development and financial inclusion of Philadelphia’s Latino community through collaborations, advocacy, and a comprehensive approach to asset building.

A recent report by Unidos US revealed that naturalization can yield an increase in earnings between 8% and 11% annually for a family. New immigrants often struggle to navigate U.S. financial systems; financial institutions operate differently in the U.S. than in their country of origin and any good financial history they may have from their home country is not recognized here.

“Through Santander’s partnership with Ceiba and Finanta, this program will provide the financial tools needed for new Philadelphia-area Latino immigrants to succeed in life and achieve their American Dream through homeownership, entrepreneurship, and financial stability,” said Angela Moultrie, Santander Bank’s Region President for the PA-NJ Central Region. “Programa Adelante will enable immigrants to not only become American Citizens, but also obtain the resources needed to build credit and the knowledge needed for financial independence and prosperity.”