Have you ever worked with your local bank branch team, virtually or in-person? As Brigitte Killings and Mathilda Lambert from Chase will tell you, opening a checking account is the first step in achieving financial stability and a critical one to closing gaps in access to banking. Mathilda Lambert is Chase’s new Community Manager for the city of Atlanta – one of 150 Community Managers Chase is hiring across the country – while Brigitte Killings is focused on the broader south region. From their offices in Atlanta, they are both focused on helping close the racial wealth gap for Black and Latinx Americans.

The Community Manager role is a new one Chase created to help harness the bank’s resources to address racial inequity and to ensure financial resources are available to everyone – especially those who have been historically underserved.

The Atlanta Voice sat down with Brigitte and Mathilda to discuss their roles, their plans to help Atlanta’s Black and Latinx communities grow, the changes the bank’s $30 billion Path Forward investment is expected to bring, and how you can work with Chase to chart your own path forward and meet your financial goals.

ATLANTA VOICE: Mathilda, tell us a bit more about your new role as the Community Manager?

Mathilda: My role as a Community Manager was designed specifically to meet the unique financial wellness needs of our city’s Black and Latinx communities. We want to evolve from community banking to community building. To do this, we’re actively working to reverse systemic inequalities across the financial system, to break down economic barriers and to support the success of our customers and our community. Our recent announcement about addressing the housing affordability gap through non-profit partnerships and policy change recommendations is a great example of this. Think of a community manager as a neighbor who understands intentional relationship building, the financial needs of leaders, organizations and people in our community – and who can introduce you to the right person in the bank to help.

ATLANTA VOICE: How do you hope to financially empower the Black community?

Brigitte: My hope is that we are able to bring more awareness to the tools, resources and partners that we have at Chase in order to establish financial health and wealth in our communities that will lead to financial stability for generations to come. We’re here to empower the Black community to build generational wealth and a long-lasting legacy. Awareness and accessibility are key – we see our branches as ideal places to begin fostering vital community connections. My team and I will help people take advantage of financial health tools, products and services, while aiming to boost general financial knowledge via unique and free interactive programs, such as:

· Resources to support financial health

· Home buying tips

· Educational and enrichment workshops such as resume writing and cybersecurity tips

· Growth support for entrepreneurs starting or expanding their small businesses

While we’re just getting started, we hope to make a real difference in the lives of the families, individuals, homeowners and business owners in the communities we serve, especially in Atlanta.

ATLANTA VOICE: What additional resources will be made available to underserved communities here in Atlanta?

Mathilda: This is a multi-year effort so there will be many, but here are a few to start. One of our first priorities is to help people open a checking account for the first time, as this is key to financial stability and critical to closing gaps in access to banking. To do this, we’ll walk through our low-cost, no-overdraft checking accounts like Chase Secure Banking, which can offer security to those who might be new to banking or who have had trouble getting or keeping a bank account in the past.

We are also focused on promoting growth among Black-owned small businesses. We’ve brought on senior business consultants who can serve as coaches and mentors to underserved entrepreneurs. Similarly, we’ve brought on board community home lending advisors who are focused on helping more of the community secure the funds needed for homeownership.

It’s not just people resources though – it’s financial assistance as well. For example, we recently announced that we are offering a $5,000 homebuyer grant to help cover closing costs and down payments for qualified homebuyers purchasing a home in underserved communities in Atlanta and across the nation. Also, customers who complete a certified education course can save an additional $500 on a Chase DreaMakerSM mortgage.

ATLANTA VOICE: You mentioned another goal of the Community Manager is “community building.” What does this mean and how will you do this in Atlanta and the Southeast?

Mathilda: A big priority for us is working with community organizations who understand and are invested in driving change. In Atlanta, our partnership with the Russell Center is a great example. We have opened the Chase Lounge there as a space where we can help entrepreneurs and individuals one-on-one and give them access to financial health tools in the same space where they are starting and running their businesses.

Brigitte: Right – I think you will see more spaces like that here in Atlanta and in other parts of the Southeast as well, not necessarily focused on small business, but rather focused on all aspects of financial health. These will be spaces where we can engage, educate and connect with the community and the individuals we serve.

For me, I grew up in Southwest Atlanta and have witnessed the growth, but we still have more work to do. For both of us, serving people in this community is a personal, as well as a professional passion.

To learn more, stop by the Chase branch at 1215 Caroline St. NE or any Atlanta-area Chase branch.

Sponsored content provided by JPMorgan Chase

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