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Corporate Responsibility Act. 27 Apr 2021

BBVA employees share their passion for financial literacy

In honor of Financial Literacy Month, we’re recognizing four incredible BBVA USA employees who in total contributed more than 350 hours to helping customers work toward their goals of achieving financial freedom, home ownership, and more in 2020.

Terrance Brisbane, Community Development Mortgage Outreach Officer, 2020 Jacksonville Volunteer Chapter Affordable Housing Coordinator

Why are you passionate about financial literacy?

I see the need for financial literacy in our community, which includes a large population of low- to moderate-income families. Financial literacy has the potential to provide stability for families, to give them a place to call home, and to leave a legacy for their children and future generations. It’s our job to demystify banking and provide the knowledge families need to make sound financial decisions.

What has been your most rewarding experience?

I once worked with a man who was 58 years old and who had never been able to buy his own home. He had tried in his 30s and 40s, but was denied because of his credit. He said this would be his last attempt. I worked with him on improving his credit, and he followed every piece of my advice. A year later, he had a credit score of 650 and closed on a home on his 59th birthday.

I also had the pleasure of working with a young woman who wanted to be the first person in six generations of her family to own their own home and needed guidance on the process. On the day of closing, her family, who had joined us by conference call, celebrated and cried tears of joy as she was handed the keys to her house. It was such an incredible moment to be part of.

What would you say to encourage other BBVA USA team members to get involved in the financial education program?

You get to make a lasting impact in people’s lives. Yes, you might feel anxious about leading a session, but you can start small. Watch someone lead a session, help out as a volunteer, get familiar with the materials, and eventually you’ll be ready to lead. And to calm your nerves, remember that it’s not about you—then you can walk in with confidence.

Keda Fisher-Thomas, Commercial Loan Closer, 2020 Dallas Volunteer Chapter Project Coordinator

Why are you passionate about financial literacy?

I believe the first step to changing a person's situation is to increase their knowledge. It's hard to imagine or dream about something you’ve never seen or rarely see happen in your community. After I began working with a more diverse group of people, I saw more opportunities in life. I wanted that for myself, my children, and for the people who live in the same kind of community I was raised in.

What has been your most rewarding experience?

The most rewarding experience is to share my story and hear that someone can relate to it. I also love seeing my children practice some of the same financial literacy tools that I share in the classes.

What would you say to encourage other BBVA USA team members to get involved in the financial education program?

I would say to my BBVA coworkers: we need you. The community needs you. If you want to change the injustices, inequality, and inequity around you, it can start with these classes. The odds are stacked against us. To win, we need more strong, smart people on our side to help fight financial illiteracy. The community needs to see someone in each session that looks like them and someone who comes from a different background, so they get the full advantage of every perspective.

Cindy Mattingley, Relationship Support Specialist, 2020 Montgomery Volunteer Chapter President

Why are you passionate about financial literacy?

Financial literacy isn’t taught like it should be. Even for me, I never budgeted until I began teaching financial literacy classes. Now that I’m heading toward retirement, I realize just how powerful and important it is to be able to look at my finances and say “I can retire” with confidence. I believe that we’re here to give back and help others, and I want them to have the same confidence in their finances that I have now.

What would you say to encourage other BBVA USA team members to get involved in the financial education program?

We’re blessed because BBVA gives us 16 hours of volunteer time. Volunteering and leading a session isn’t always comfortable, but it’s the right thing to do and there are myriad ways you can help out. I compare it to giving blood: I don’t always like doing it, but it needs to be done for the greater good.

Isela Garcia, Workplace Solutions Officer, 2020 McAllen Volunteer Chapter Vice President

Why are you passionate about financial literacy?

In my community, south Texas, or “deep south Texas,” it’s common practice to pay for everything in cash; household finances are left to the husband or head of household; and “credit” is a bad word. Generation after generation, speaking about finances with family was taboo, and teaching good financial habits was almost obsolete. Working and learning at BBVA has allowed me to do my part in my community to break those stigmas and to make financial literacy more available.

When I’m facilitating a workshop, I make sure that my audience feels comfortable to ask questions and participate without feeling judged. I love feeling the trust I build with my audience, and always hope they feel cared for and supported as they strive for greater financial health.

What has been your most rewarding experience?

The most rewarding experience for me is working with organizations like Affordable Homes of South Texas, Housing Authorities in cities across the Rio Grande Valley, and the Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement. I am part of helping people reach their goal of owning a home and being prepared to manage their finances after course completion.

What would you say to encourage other BBVA USA team members to get involved in the financial education program?

I would say, if you truly enjoy speaking to your customers about financial topics or you want to learn about good financial habits, facilitating financial literacy workshops is a way to accomplish both. The best part is that you don’t have to be an expert at giving presentations. The presentations are simple and easy to  follow. All you have to do is be willing to give a little of your time to an important and impactful program.

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