April 2015



Last week one of our clients came in to get help getting out of a payday loan cycle.  He had fallen behind in hours worked in December so he took out a payday loan to make ends meet.  Since then, not only had he flipped his loan three times, costing him over $300 in fees, but because each loan got paid off directly from his bank account, he had racked up overdraft fees in his bank account of another $244.  In three short months he had spent over $544 in financing fees and he was still underwater.  This is what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) refers to as a debt trap. 


In his field hearing on payday loans in Richmond, Virginia on March 26th CFPB Director Richard Cordray said,   "We believe that many people who live on the edge need access to credit that can help them manage their financial affairs. But we have also emphasized that the market for such credit products must be marked by responsible lending that helps rather than harms consumers.....Many lenders make loans based not on the consumer's ability to repay but on the lender's ability to collect."  The CFPB is proposing new regulations for short term loans such as payday loans and car title loans, and longer term loans that charge more than 36% interest.  In both cases, the CFPB proposals are designed for debt trap prevention and debt trap protection.  You can read Director Cordray's full remarks here and learn more about how the work of the CFPB helps our clients at our annual fundraiser on June 24th.  Save the date and plan to join us for fun event featuring Robert Stoll, a member of the Citizen's Advisory Board for the CFPB. 


All the best,


Nancy Yuill


Save the Date

Wednesday June 24, 2015 5:30 pm at the Dragonwell Bistro!

This year's fundraising event, Building Hope, will celebrate the Achievements of Innovative Changes and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  It will be a cocktail soirée with hearty appetizers, wine, and soft drinks.  Our venue, the Dragonwell Bistro on SW 1st Avenue in downtown Portland, will provide an elegant setting and cater fabulous food.

 Robert Stoll, a member of the Consumer Advisory Board of the Consumer Financial  Protection Bureau (CFPB), will be on hand to provide highlights of the work of the CFPB  and you'll hear first-hand how the CFPB has helped our clients. 


We encourage you to bring along a friend who will enjoy learning about our work.  Though the event is free we hope you will consider making a donation in support of our work. Please RSVP to andrea@innovativechanges.org so we can plan accordingly.


We look forward to seeing you there!



smart goals2Credit Builder Success Story


Cheryl's student loans were in default and she wasn't using any other credit, which hurt her credit. She set up a plan to get up to date on her loans, consolidated them into one monthly payment, opened a secured credit card, and took out Innovative Changes' Credit Builder Loan. She worked hard to make all her loan payments on time and uses her card regularly, but responsibly. In less than a year, she increased her credit score over 100 points! Congratulations Cheryl!


Are you interested in building YOUR credit to qualify for a mortgage or another credit goal? Attend a credit builder loan orientation! Orientations are offered once a week in English and once a month in Spanish!

aliciaWelcome Alicia Hinojosa!



What are doing at Innovative Changes?

I am blessed with the office administrator's position. I assist and support all IC$ staff with essential day to day tasks for organizational operations.


What drew you to this position?

I attended the Financial Household Resiliency workshops. Learning more and more about this company intrigued me to inquire, and what an incredible and unique place this is! I want to work hard for a company I believe in. I spoke with Misha and gave her a copy of my resume; she in turn got it into the right hands.


Why are you specifically passionate about financial education?

 Because I know what it is like to not know my rights, or be aware of losing money. Had I known all of these things prior to having children I could have been better prepared. I don't want anyone else to suffer as I did.


Why is it important that our clients learn about personal finance?

Everyone has a right to be happy. Part of this entails being financially fit. By educating just one person at a time, I am helping my neighbors, my friends, and my family. They in turn can also do the same-it's infectious. Together we can all make a difference.


Continue reading about Alicia here!


coahcingCoach and Client Spotlight: Martha and Hannah


by Andrea Kerwin


Hannah found Innovative Changes' financial coaching program online when she was looking for help with her financial situation.  A social worker by trade, Hannah had fallen into a tough financial situation. Between student loans and some consumer debt, she felt overwhelmed by her situation. She knew she wanted to start paying down her debt but didn't know how to start and take control.


The pair decided that Hannah should track her spending between the first and second meeting, to get a better sense of how she spends her money. "I think Hannah is starting in a good place," commented Martha. "She is motivated to develop skills and tools that will help her feel like she has more control over her finances."  Over the course of the next couple of meetings, Hannah and Melissa experimented with several budgeting formats and techniques, before Hannah felt like she had a budget that she could stick to.


"With my coach's help, I'm working with my budget on a weekly basis to see where my money goes, as well as how I want to spend/save."

Continue reading here to find out how financial coaching is helping Hannah!


If you are interested in becoming a financial coach, contact Andrea to get more information and to get signed up for our April 18th Financial Coach Training.


Email Andrea at andrea@innovativechanges.org or call (503)249-5205!



Legislative Advocacy Signal Boost!


Assets Opportunity Day is an opportunity to join with hundreds of others like you who care about financial health and freedom for our families, neighbors and communities.  This year the tax credit that funds our IDA program needs to be renewed. Be a part of the force that helps make sure people will be able to build their assets for higher education, home-ownership and more for years to come!

Find more information about the IDA Renewal Initiative or to register for the Asset Opportunity Day in Salem here.


Our Friends at 15NowPDX are advocating in Salem for a livable minimum wage and you might be able to help!

The 15NowPDX campaign is searching for Oregonians who:


a) Are struggling to make ends meet on their $9.25-$14/hour jobs
b) Used to earn the minimum wage and can speak about the difference a living wage has made in their lives
c) Are willing to speak with the media and/or legislators about their struggles
d) Are willing to have their images and comments shared on social media

People who are interested in this advocacy opportunity can write to Vio, violeta@nwjp.org or call 503.806.4205 and she will set up a time to chat with you in person.

We would like to have storytellers identified ASAP so that we have time to prepare for the legislative hearing on April 13.


advocacyMoney Smart Week 2015!


The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and non-profits all around the country are coming together for the 2015 Money Smarts Week April 18th-April 25th, and we are celebrating with them! Find the events we are hosting on their website and be a part of a national movement towards financial health. 


Learn more about Money Smart Week here!

Upcoming Workshops & Orientations
The next Financial Household Resiliency workshops will be:


- Tuesday evenings, 5:30-7:30pm


May 5th: Making Ends Meet

May 12th: Budgeting and Savings

May 19th: Hands on Banking

May 26th: Building, Repairing, and Protecting Credit 



This workshop series will be held at our office in 2010 Lloyd Center Mall. You can register for the classes here.

 Our next Credit Builder Orientations will be:


-Thursday, April 9th, 5:30-6:30pm

-Friday, April 17th, 1-2pm

-Jueves (EN ESPANOL), 23 de Abril 5:30-6:30pm

-Friday, April 24th, 1-2pm

-Friday, May 1st, 1-2pm

-Wednesday, May 6th, 5:30-6:30 pm



 All take place at our office, 2010 Lloyd Center.  Register here.


Quick Stats:
As of 4/8/2015
Total disbursed:
Financial Education Clients: 3,218
IDA Savers: 93
IDA Graduates:
IDA Wait List:
IDA Interest: 
About Us
Our inter-related programs of responsible lending, credit building, financial education and savings acceleration build people's financial capabilities and put them on the path to long term financial health.  Join us in our work!

You Can Help!

You care about helping people achieve and maintain household stability. Now you can join our efforts at Innovative Changes as we expand our reach to serve more clients. Your generous donation will be put to good use!


Whatever amount you can afford, you can set it up for monthly automatic payments to ease your cash flow. If you have bill pay service with your bank you can set up Innovative Changes to receive regular monthly payments. If you prefer, we can process a monthly ACH transaction on your behalf. Contact us at contact@innovativechanges.org to set up your monthly giving program.


Thank you for your support!

Quick Links