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An Update from the N.C. Assets Alliance
January 2010
Greetings, Assets Advocate.

The NC Assets Alliance is hosting the following upcoming events. Please join us!

Friday, February 26 10am-2pm: Asset Building and Family Economic Security Forum in Winston Salem hosted by the NC Assets Alliance and the North Carolina Housing Coalition. The Forum will be at the Winston Salem Urban League: 201 West 5th Street Winston Salem, NC, and lunch will be served. Please RSVP to Jessica Parker. Invitation and more information to follow.
Invitations for Forums in Fayeteville, Asheville, and Charlotte are forthcoming.

Thursday, March 4 10am-1pm: NC Assets Alliance quarterly meeting The meeting will be held at the North Carolina Indian Economic Development Initiative: 5800 Faringdon Place | Raleigh, NC 27609. Please RSVP to Emila Sutton. Lunch will be served. New members of the Executive Steering Committee will be announced at this meeting. The nominations are in, and look for a voting form to finalize the new leadership in the second week of February. Thank you for your nominations.

Don't forget, you can also get more involved in the work of the NC Assets Alliance even if you are not able to travel to Raleigh.
Contact NC Assets Alliance subcommittee groups about upcoming meetings.Many committee meetings are held via conference call. If you don't live in Raleigh, you can still participate.

Outreach: Donna Gallagher
Policy and Communications: Alexandra Sirota
Research: Jess Dorrance
For information on leadership roles in the NC Assets Alliance and how you can get involved, please contact Lucy Gorham.
Please email Emila Sutton with updates and information on asset building in practice across the state. We want to hear about your program and share it with other assets advocates.

Thank you for your continued support of the NC Assets Alliance!

North Carolina Assets Alliance

In This Issue
State Asset Policy
Federal Asset Policy
Asset Building in Practice
Research and Publications
Reminder: Participate in Saves Week 2010
Take Action
State Asset Policy
Legislative Study Commission On Poverty Reduction and Economic Recovery
Last month, the Legislative Study Commission on Poverty Reduction and Economic Recovery added four subcommittees:
Subcommittee on Persistent Poverty
Subcommittee on Tax Issues
Subcommittee on Jobs
Subcommittee on State Programs.
The Commission felt that it could make more informed and comprehensive recommendations to the General Assembly when it reconvenes in May if it split into these four, more concentrated focus groups. The subcommittees meet prior to each monthly meeting of the full commission. For more information on membership and meeting dates, visit the North Carolina General Assembly website.
The NC Assets Alliance will present information about the work of the Alliance to the full commission at their next meeting this week: Tuesday, February 4th at 11am in room 643 LOB. An update will be included in the February issue of the Asset Advocate.
Federal Asset Policy Update
Credit CARD Act

Here are some key changes you should expect from your credit card company beginning on February 22, 2010.

Some of the most exciting rules pertain to protections for consumers under the age of 21.

Protections for underage consumers.
  • If you are under 21, you will need to show that you are able to make payments, or you will need a cosigner, in order to open a credit card account.
  • If you are under age 21 and have a card with a cosigner and want an increase in the credit limit, your cosigner must agree in writing to the increase.

What your credit card company has to tell you:

When they plan to increase your rate or other fees.
  • Your credit card company must send you a notice 45 days before they can increase your interest rate change, certain fees (such as annual fees, cash advance fees, and late fees) that apply to your account; or make other significant changes to the terms of your card.
  • If your credit card company is going to make changes to the terms of your card, it must give you the option to cancel the card before certain fee increases take effect. If you take that option, however, your credit card company may close your account and increase your monthly payment, subject to certain limitations.
  • The company does not have to send you a 45-day advance notice if you have a variable interest rate tied to an index; if the index goes up, the company does not have to provide notice before your rate goes up; your introductory rate expires and reverts to the previously disclosed "go-to" rate; your rate increases because you are in a workout agreement and you haven't made your payments as agreed.
  • How long it will take to pay off your balance.
New rules regarding rates, fees, and limits
  • No interest rate increases for the first year. Your credit card company cannot increase your rate for the first 12 months after you open an account. There are some exceptions. Increased rates apply only to new charges. If your credit card company does raise your interest rate after the first year, the new rate will apply only to new charges you make. If you have a balance, your old interest rate will apply to that balance.
  • Restrictions on over-the-limit transactions. You must tell your credit card company that you want it to allow transactions that will take you over your credit limit.
  • Caps on high-fee cards. If your credit card company requires you to pay fees (such as an annual fee or application fee), those fees cannot total more than 25% of the initial credit limit.
Changes to billing and payments
  • Standard payment dates and times. Your credit card company must mail or deliver your credit card bill at least 21 days before your payment is due. In addition
  • The payment cut-off time cannot be earlier than 5 p.m. on the due date.
There are more provisions included int he Credit CARD Act than listed here. For the full article, please visit: The Federal Reserve Website
Asset Building in Practice
Beyond Academics Program at UNC Greensboro Introduces Asset Building Curriculum to Juniors in 2010

Beyond Academics is a private, nonprofit human services agency dedicated to supporting and instructing young adults with intellectual disabilities who hope to advance their education after high school. Life coaching and support are provided on campus, in collegiate housing complexes, and in the community in partnership with UNCG. Beyond
Academics at UNCG is North Carolina's first progressive and inclusive higher education site in a university community for young adults with intellectual disabilities.

Starting this month, the students of the Junior class will participate in asset building training using curriculum developed by the National Disability Institute and delivered in partnership and assistance from the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities, the IDA and Asset Building Collaborative of NC, and EITC Carolinas. The trainings will be delivered by the teachers at Beyond Academics and will also bring in local experts on topics such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, Individual Development Accounts, and Public Benefits, to name a few. The curriculum exposes students to local asset building resources and also helps them with a plan to develop and then achieve their "American Dream"; whether the student's dream is small business ownership, or home ownership, the Beyond Academics program leads their students through the process to achieve their goals.

Michael Roush FINAL Pic from Jan 2010 BA
Michael Roush of the National Disability Institute shares American Dream drawings from past asset building module participants in Florida.

For more information on the Beyond Academics Program, contact Executive Director, Joan Johnson or Academic Coordinator, Lalenja Harrington.

If you have an Asset Building Program, please let us know!
Email Emila Sutton with details.
Research and Publications
Due to EITC Awareness day on January 29th, the Research Committee compiled resources related to EITC and VITA:

The Brookings Institution has an ongoing series about the EITC. Their site includes several reports published over the last few years as well as an interactive data resource that allows the user to download ZIP code-level tax return information for states, metro areas, counties, cities, and state legislative and congressional districts for tax years 1997 through 2006.
Additional Resources on the EITC
EITC Carolinas
Internal Revenue Service
National Community Tax Coalition
The State EITC Online Resource Center
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
The National EITC Outreach Partnership

Please contact Jess Dorrance for more information on the Research Committee.

Participate in Saves Week 2010!

Take Part in America Saves Week February 21-28, 2010
There are many ways to participate in America Saves Week, whether you are an employer, financial institution, non-profit organization, government, military, educators, youth organizations, or media. Visit the America Saves Week website at to download materials and find out how your organization can take part in encouraging more Americans to save. There are also different resources and materials on the website for individuals to test their savings knowledge, assess savings progress, or take action to save more effectively. Be sure to visit the website and let your clients and partners know about this important week.
Let NC Saves know how your organization is participating in America Saves Week, email Emila Sutton with details. We want to share the important Saves work going on in North Carolina!

Visit for more information on NC Saves, or to sign up to be a NC Saver.
To contribute to the N.C. Assets Alliance monthly newsletter or for general information about the N.C. Assets Alliance, contact Emila Sutton.
The North Carolina Assets Alliance is a 40-member state-wide coalition representing public, private and non-profit institutions with the vision to expand opportunity and build a more stable financial future for all North Carolinians. For more information, visit
Join Our Mailing List

North Carolina ranks 42nd among states in median credit card debt.  The median credit card debt held by North Carolinians is $3,194 compared to $2,960 nationally.

Source: Trend Analysis Data. (2008, Quarter 3). TransUnion.

The Federal Reserve provides a free online Credit Repayment Calculator. Use it to give you an estimate of how long it will take you to pay off your credit card balance.

For information on the Credit CARD Act and its' implications on your credit, see the Federal Policy Update section of this newsletter.

Become a FAN of the NC Assets Alliance on Facebook!

Visit the NC Assets Alliance Facebook page for updates and information on asset building work accross the state and nationally. Join us!

Join the NC Assets Alliance Google Group in Wilmington and/or in Greenville!

Thank you to those who participated in the in the Community Forums in Wilmington and in Greenville, hosted by the North Carolina Assets Alliance and the North Carolina Housing Coalition. We invite you to join the Wilmington and Greenville Google Groups (GG) online.  If you were unable to attend the forums, please feel free to join the group. We have created the online group to connect anyone in the Greenville and Wilmington areas that are interested in the asset building arena.

We will also create Google Groups for each upcoming forum for regional and statewide partners can share their work.

To join, visit the Wilmington and/or Greenville GG sites:

Greenville GG



Quick Links to Members
Action for Children NC
The Arc of NC
Center for Responsible Lending
Community Reinvestment Association of NC
Easter Seals UCP of NC
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Atlanta Region Community Affairs
Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond - Charlotte Office
Fiscal Progress
Good Work, Inc.
IDA and Asset Building Collaborative of NC
Latino Community Credit Union
MDC Inc., EITC Carolinas Initiative
NC Bankers' Association
NC Community Development Initiative
NC Council on Developmental Disabilities
NC Department of Commerce, Division of Community Assistance
NC Department of Labor, Individual Development Account Program
NC Housing Coalition
NC Housing Finance Agency
NC Justice Center
NC Indian Economic Development Initiative
NC Institute of Minority Economic Development
NC Office of the Commissioner of Banks
NC Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities
NC Rural Economic Development Center
NC State University Cooperative Extension
Southern Coalition for Social Justice
UNC Center for Community Capital
UNC School of Social Work
United Way of NC
Wilson County DSS