Buncombe County Public Libraries (BCPL) plans to expand its personal finance materials collection following receipt of a grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation (FINRA Foundation).
The additional tools and resources will help ensure that residents have the information they need when making critical money decisions as they repair, rebuild, and clean up following TS Fred.
“When disaster strikes, the community comes together,” said Library Director Jim Blanton. “We want everyone in our community to know that all Buncombe libraries are both a welcoming convening place and locations where our families can obtain unbiased information to guide financial choices that will have lasting impact.”
Filing claims, accessing government resources, managing lump-sum payments from insurance companies, and meeting immediate expenses when income might be disrupted — these are just a few of the money challenges that residents in disaster areas must navigate.
FINRA Foundation President Gerri Walsh noted, “Many of us lack experience with these decisions. Nonetheless, we have to get it right the first time around or face long-term financial consequences. Fortunately, BCPL has information that can help.”
The expanded BCPL personal finance collections are made possible by a $5,000 grant from the FINRA Foundation. For nearly 15 years, the FINRA Foundation has provided funding, staff training and programs to build the capacity of public libraries to address the financial education needs of people nationwide. Much of this has been accomplished in partnership with the American Library Association through a program known as Smart investing@your library®.
The FINRA Foundation is also providing multimedia materials that explain the red flags of financial fraud and what people can do to be vigilant and counter the persuasion tactics that fraudsters use.
It is estimated that consumer financial fraud costs Americans more than $50 billion a year, according to FINRA Foundation research. Financial fraud is especially prevalent following major natural disasters. Since it was established in 2005, the National Center for Disaster Fraud, which is part of the U.S. Department of Justice, has logged more than 220,000 disaster-related complaints from all 50 states. Financial fraud makes tough times all the more difficult for people recovering from the trauma inflicted by disasters.
The FINRA Foundation has issued an Alert with practical guidance to help residents protect themselves from fraudulent schemes.
Ms. Walsh observed, “Recovery follows disaster, but the path to recovery can be smooth or very bumpy. And financial fraud can be one of the biggest potholes along that road. BCPL has information to help people avoid the financial potholes and bring the route to recovery into sharper focus.”
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About FINRA Foundation
The FINRA Foundation supports innovative research and educational projects that give Americans the knowledge, skills, and tools to make sound financial decisions throughout life. For more information about FINRA Foundation initiatives, visit finrafoundation.org.
For more information contact: Angelita Plemmer Williams, FINRA Investor Education Foundation