In Your Community

October 1, 2018

Woodforest Receives Award from Texas Bankers Foundation for Innovative Wealth Building Through Homeownership Program

The Woodlands, TX (October 1, 2018) – The Independent Bankers Association of Texas (IBAT)—the largest state community banking association in the nation—recently honored Woodforest National Bank with two Best of Community Banking (BOCB) Awards. It received a gold award as well as the "Best of Show" award, which is the competition's top honor, for its community service program that helped customers and the community recover and rebuild following the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Harvey. The bank also received a gold award for its New Beginnings® financial literacy program that helps families who have experienced or are at risk of homelessness.


IBAT Awards Image


2018 marks the 27th year that IBAT has celebrated the outstanding accomplishments of Texas community banks with the BOCB Award. Community banks, such as Woodforest National Bank, play a critical role in their local communities. The Best of Community Banking competition is designed to honor banks for their commitment to helping their customers, neighbors and community. BOCB Awards recognize community banks throughout the state for their innovation, creativity and success in fulfilling a specific community need. Each submission received a gold, silver or bronze award in one of five categories: bank culture, community service, financial literacy, marketing and architectural design.

Woodforest National Bank's community service entry focused on helping to rebuild Texas after Hurricane Harvey. The bank quickly enacted its crisis management plan; and worked with national and community partners to develop innovative and responsive programs that reacted to the immediate (and long-term needs) of its employees, customers and the community by maximizing its available resources and relationships.

Its second entry addresses an unmet need it saw in its communities not only in Texas, but also throughout the country. Through a partnership with Family Promise, the leading national organization fighting homelessness in the U.S., it created the New Beginnings® program to serve families across 43 states.

New Beginnings® is a unique curriculum, designed for families who have experienced or are at risk of homelessness, provides a comprehensive approach to achieving financial sustainability, from basic banking concepts to budgeting and managing credit. It is accessible for families of all backgrounds. It is also designed to work in multiple formats, and a key aspect of the comprehensive facilitator's guide allows volunteers to deliver the material effectively from anywhere – even on a cot to a single mother and her children living in a shelter. New Beginnings® is an ideal tool for volunteers at financial institutions because of its modular structure and practical instructions. This program is more than a cookie-cutter financial literacy course. It meets families where they are, both physically and educationally; and helps combat the vicious cycle and consequences of poverty plaguing Texas and the nation.

"We appreciate being recognized by Independent Bankers Association of Texas for not one, but two awards; but for us, the real win here is having the talent, resources and relationships in place to make a visible difference in our communities. Stepping up to support Texas (our home state) during Hurricane Harvey was just the right thing to do, and we were motivated by the hard work and dedication everyone put into the effort. Regarding New Beginnings, this program goes beyond financial education. It's teaching critical skills to a vulnerable group of people across the country which hopefully gives them a sense of accomplishment and dignity; and importantly, back on a path to financial stability," said Doug Schaeffer, EVP, CRA Executive Director for Woodforest National Bank.

All BOCB gold, silver and bronze winners were on display during IBAT's 44th Annual Convention in San Antonio, Sept. 22-25, 2018. For more information about Woodforest National Bank's award submissions, please contact Doug Schaeffer, EVP, CRA Executive Director at DSchaeffer@WOODFOREST.com or Daniel Galindo, VP, CRA and Strategy Director at dgalindo@woodforest.com.


About the Independent Bankers Association of Texas

Formed in 1974, the Independent Bankers Association of Texas (IBAT) represents Texas community banks. The Austin-based group is the largest state community banking organization in the nation with membership comprised of more than 2,000 banks and branches in 700 Texas communities. Providing safe and responsible financial services to all Texans, IBAT member bank assets range in size from $21 million to $31 billion with combined assets statewide of $193 billion. IBAT member banks are committed to supporting and investing in their local communities.

May 4, 2018

Woodforest Receives Award from Texas Bankers Foundation for Innovative Wealth Building Through Homeownership Program

The Woodlands, TX (May 4, 2018) – Woodforest National Bank, in collaboration with the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) was recently recognized by The Texas Bankers Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Texas Bankers Association, with a Cornerstone Award for its innovative Wealth Building Through Homeownership Program. The Cornerstone Award recognizes excellence in community involvement by Texas banks.

Doug Schaeffer, EVP, Executive Director CRA, Woodforest National Bank said, “Being recognized by The Texas Bankers Foundation for these initiatives is validation that Woodforest is being responsive to the needs of our communities. We are grateful to work with organizations like TDHCA and NeighborWorks America to develop innovative solutions aimed at combating the financial challenges faced by those in our communities who are most in need. These programs educate underserved borrowers and provide them trusted solutions available to support them as they strive for homeownership."


TBA Awards


Tim Irvine, TDHCA Executive Director added, “As a state agency that is created to promote business and economic development we are always extremely gratified when there is a win-win opportunity to work in tandem with the private sector to serve Texans! It is always good to see Texas banks continuing to lead the way in developing and carrying out prudent but creative solutions.”

The Wealth Building Through Homeownership Program is the first-of-its-kind, private-public venture with TDHCA to expand homeownership for low-to-moderate-income individuals through a $10 million loan agreement that increased access to down payment assistance and closing cost funds. As part of the initiative, Woodforest also provided housing counseling scholarships through NeighborWorks America, and, its employees conducted more than 3,500 hours of homebuyer education through over 1,000 workshops.

“Nonprofit housing counselors empower community residents to prepare for successful homeownership, build assets, and even assist existing homeowners avoid foreclosure after a hurricane or other life-altering events. NeighborWorks America is committed to building the skills and expertise of counselors but we can’t do it alone. Thanks to an investment by Woodforest National Bank, we trained counselors through a series of NeighborWorks America regional trainings,” said Sheila D. Anderson, Senior Relationship Manager, NeighborWorks America.

Woodforest is leading the charge in growing homeownership by encouraging other community banks to participate in future transactions of the Wealth Building Through Homeownership Program in Texas and across our 16 other states. For more information contact Doug Schaeffer at dschaeffer@woodforest.com or Daniel Galindo, VP, CRA and Strategy Director at dgalindo@woodforest.com.

Woodforest also received a special “Honorable Mention” from The Texas Bankers Foundation in the LiFE Awards category for its ReLi®/ReStarter® Program. This initiative supports borrowers looking to rebuild their credit and return to financial stability. The Leaders in Financial Education (LiFE) Award honors Texas banks that are dedicated leaders in promoting financial education in their communities.


About TDHCA

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is committed to expanding fair housing choice and opportunities for Texans through the administration and funding of affordable housing and homeownership opportunities, weatherization, and community-based services with the help of for-profits, nonprofits, and local governments. For more information about fair housing, funding opportunities, or services in your area, please visit www.tdhca.state.tx.us or the Learn about Fair Housing in Texas page.


About NeighborWorks America

For nearly 40 years, Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp. (d/b/a NeighborWorks America), a national, nonpartisan nonprofit, has created opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership and to safe and affordable rental housing. In the last five years, NeighborWorks organizations have generated more than $34 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks America is the nation's leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals.

May 1, 2018

Woodforest is proud to support myWay to Credit

Washington, D.C. (May 1, 2018) — The Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), a national non-profit organization dedicated to changing the way that capital and services flow to underserved Main Street businesses, launched myWay to Credit (www.mywaytocredit.com), the first-ever bank referral marketplace for small business lending. myWay to Credit gives options to small businesses that don’t currently qualify for financing by connecting them to a vetted network of community lenders and small business mentors. Early bank adopters played an essential role in the successful creation of the referral marketplace. Woodforest National Bank partnered with AEO during the early design and testing phase, and JPMorgan Chase invested through its $150-million Small Business Forward initiative to ensure the creation of a scalable service that can be repeated for any referral partner regardless of size. Both firms are currently referring customers to the marketplace.
Read more about myWay to Credit here.

March 29, 2018

Woodforest National Bank Honored By Junior Achievement with a U.S. President's Volunteer Service Award

The Woodlands, TX (March 2018) – Junior Achievement USA® (JA) announced that it will honor Woodforest National Bank® with a Silver level 2016-2017 U.S. President's Volunteer Service Award for providing more than 10,000 volunteer hours to local Junior Achievement offices during the 2016-2017 school year. The U.S. President's Volunteer Service Award was presented to 57 organizations at an evening awards ceremony during the JA Volunteer Summit, presented by American Express Foundation, on March 13, 2018 in New York, NY.

In 2003, President George W. Bush established the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation (the Council) to recognize the valuable contributions volunteers make in communities and encourage more people to serve. The Council created the President's Volunteer Service Award program as a way to thank and honor individuals who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service. In 2006, Junior Achievement became an official certifying organization for this award, which recognizes corporations with a U.S. presence that provide volunteers to teach JA programs anywhere in the world.

"Junior Achievement volunteers are important mentors for young people, bringing our programs to life. JA volunteers share their experiences and skills with students while delivering our programs, teaching them how to manage their money, succeed in the workforce, or start a business that creates jobs and grows the economy. JA’s volunteers are critical to our organization’s success and are a vital part of our mission. Junior Achievement volunteers help build communities by empowering the next generation’s success. JA could not exist without the dedication of its volunteers. We are grateful for this opportunity to recognize their invaluable support." said Rick Franke President, Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas, Inc.

Junior Achievement’s kindergarten through high school programs are delivered across the country by a network of more than 243,000 volunteers, including 13,000 In Southeast, Texas. JA programs provide innovative, hands-on work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy education to more than 300,000 students in the Houston area each year.

The complete list of recipients can be found here.

About Junior Achievement USA® (JA)

Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. JA programs are delivered by corporate and community volunteers, and provide relevant, hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. Today, JA reaches 4.8 million students per year in more than 100 markets across the United States, with an additional 5.6 million students served by operations over 100 other countries worldwide. Visit www.ja.org for more information.

March 15, 2018

South Carolina Community Loan Fund Receives $350,000 EQ2 Investment through the CDFI Community Investment Fund

CHARLESTON, SC, – South Carolina Community Loan Fund (SCCLF) has received a $350,000 Equity Equivalent (EQ2) Investment through the CDFI Community Investment Fund, a joint initiative by Woodforest National BankSM and the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN). The CDFI Community Investment Fund was created to provide cost-effective, flexible, subordinate long term loan capital for CDFIs. SCCLF is one of the first organizations to receive an investment through the fund and will leverage the funding to increase lending for the development of affordable housing, healthy food enterprises, community facilities, and community businesses in South Carolina's underserved neighborhoods.

“Knowing that SCCLF will leverage these funds to support affordable housing, healthy food enterprises, community facilities and area businesses in South Carolina gives us confidence that our EQ2 investments are making a direct impact for underserved individuals and businesses throughout the state, “said Doug Schaeffer, EVP and CRA Executive Director for Woodforest National Bank. He continued, “SCCLF is a valued community partner, and we will continue to work with them to support initiatives that help South Carolinians most in need.”

Investments are an essential part of SCCLF’s mission and help spur economic growth by meeting a critical market need for flexible, affordable capital. SCCLF’s investment model is based on the organization borrowing capital from banks, foundations, and individuals for a minimum term of five years. An EQ2 investment is one capital product that supports this model, providing long-term, deeply subordinated capital with features that make it function like equity. These investments benefit SCCLF and the communities they serve by allowing them to leverage additional debt capital, increase their risk tolerance, and ultimately make more loans in underserved communities.

“Investments make a positive social impact in the local community, while also providing a financial return and the ability to multiply impact,” explained SCCLF’s CEO, Michelle Mapp. “EQ2 investments specifically are beneficial to us because they function like equity, which we need to increase our lending capacity. We commend Woodforest National Bank and OFN for their commitment to increasing CDFIs’ access to this critical investment type and look forward to putting this capital to work in South Carolina communities.”

“More people and communities in South Carolina will have a better economic future because of the CDFI Community Investment Fund recent equity equivalent investment in SCCLF,” said Cassandra Archbold, Senior Vice President, Financial Services at OFN. “We know how precious a role equity equivalent capital plays on a CDFI’s balance sheet and we expect SCCLF may be able to attract additional debt capital because of this transaction. We are enthusiastic about the financial and social impact of SCCLF and eager to hear the success stories that result from the investment.”

Through the CDFI Community Investment Fund, Woodforest National Bank® has committed a total of $5.5 million in EQ2 investments to support CDFIs financing community development projects and small businesses in their 17-state region.

About South Carolina Community Loan Fund
South Carolina Community Loan Fund (SCCLF) is a nonprofit CDFI headquartered in Charleston. Its mission is to advance equitable access to capital by providing loans, technical assistance and advocacy for affordable housing, healthy food retail, community facility and community business enterprises. Since its inception in 2004, SCCLF has provided 327 loans throughout the state totaling more than $45 million in financing and resulting in the completion of more than $326 million in community development projects. For more information please visit www.sccommunityloanfund.org.

About Opportunity Finance Network
Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), the national network of community development financial institutions (CDFIs), strives to ensure low-income and other under-resourced communities have access to affordable, responsible financial products and services. Members of OFN are CDFIs that deliver responsible lending to help low-income communities join the economic mainstream. Through 2016, OFN’s network originated $54 billion in financing in rural, urban, and Native communities. For more information, visit www.ofn.org.

February 21, 2018

Woodforest National Bank® Teams Up With Association For Enterprise Opportunity On New Microbusiness Initiatives

The Woodlands, TX (February 21, 2018) – Woodforest National Bank and the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) announced a new collaboration to build a groundbreaking solution to provide guidance and technical support to Main Street businesses so that they can grow and hire. The three-year initiative, which has multiple collaborators, is launching this month following a seed money grant from Woodforest to the nonprofit organization.

AEO research has found that despite numerous advancements in technology-enabled solutions to help business owners more effectively manage their businesses, there are still barriers to availability, access, and use of these tools among businesses in low-wealth communities. Microbusinesses in these communities often lack support systems and resources, which hinders their potential for growth. AEO’s analysis found that businesses that received guidance and technical support along with capital experienced significantly higher revenue growth rates compared to peers that didn't. A 2016 white paper issued by AEO titled, “Reimagining Technical Assistance,” asserted that with the right mix of resources and support systems, employment from microbusinesses in low-wealth communities alone could grow by more than 10 percent.

“The Woodforest grant presents a critical opportunity to help microbusinesses grow and hire, by getting them access to the capital and technical support they need,” said Connie Evans, President and CEO of AEO. “Think of what that would mean for our economy, especially in the distressed areas that often do not reap the benefits of a rising economy. Woodforest National Bank has always had a strong commitment to supporting Main Street, as shown by its early adoption of our myWay to Credit referral marketplace for community lenders and business mentors. We are honored to extend our collaboration to benefit more small business owners.”

The multi-year effort includes investment in scalable infrastructure and replicable tools for entrepreneurs and community organizations supported by multiple investors and technology partners. Both AEO and Woodforest National Bank are committed to innovating to better serve Main Street businesses in a measurable way. The collaboration will include three components:

  • An open source technology platform, developed in partnership with leading technology providers, that blends content delivery and knowledge management capabilities;
  • Pilot programs to test new product, service and delivery models that meet the needs of small business owners in low-wealth communities; and
  • Funding mechanisms with incentives for innovation and collaboration, including pay-for-performance models.

“We are thrilled to be working with AEO, to create ways for small businesses and entrepreneurs to bridge the digital divide,” said Doug Schaeffer, CRA Executive Director, EVP, Woodforest National Bank. He continued, “Technology has changed the game for businesses that are now able to take advantage of new market opportunities. We look forward to helping AEO redefine what trusted guidance looks like for these underserved populations. This initiative is a crucial first step to ensuring that small businesses have access to the technologies and support that will help them expand and flourish.”

About Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO)
The Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) is the leading voice of innovation in microfinance and microbusiness in the United States. Since 1991, AEO and its member and partner organizations have helped millions of entrepreneurs contribute to economic growth while supporting themselves, their families and their communities. AEO's more than 1,000 members and partners include a broad range of organizations that provide capital and services to assist underserved entrepreneurs in starting, stabilizing and expanding their businesses. Together, we are working to change the way capital and services flow to underserved entrepreneurs so that they can create jobs and opportunities for all. To learn more about AEO please visit www.aeoworks.org.

January 26, 2018

Woodforest Supports Hill CDC’s First Cohort Aimed at Product-Based Businesses

The Woodlands, TX (January 22, 2018) – Woodforest National Bank®, in collaboration with the State of Pennsylvania and Paramount Co-Op, is supporting Hill CDC’s Do It Now: BizU with Paramount Co-Op. This is the first cohort program by Hill CDC aimed at establishing and accelerating product-based businesses. The 12-week program, running through April 2018, consists of weekly 2-hour classes on an array of topics including marketing, financing and goal setting.

“Supporting cohorts and programs like those provided by Hill CDC are critical to the growth and sustainability of small businesses in Pittsburgh and across the country,” said Doug Schaeffer, CRA Executive Director, EVP, Woodforest National Bank. He continued, “We are proud to partner with the Hill CDC to provide programming that helps spur economic growth and increase jobs in the Hill District.”

Hill CDC's Do It Now

Woodforest is funding the facilitator costs for the Do It Now program, and Woodforest bankers volunteer their time to facilitate cohort classes. Additionally, in 2017, Woodforest sponsored, in part, Hill CDC’s BLAST program and Pitch Party that championed entrepreneurs who were seeking funding to start new small businesses.

Marimba Milliones, Hill CDC’s President and CEO added, “Thank you Woodforest for your ongoing support of our initiatives. We are excited to support businesses in the product and innovation space, because these businesses are not as common in developing neighborhoods. We believe fostering their growth will aid in future job opportunities for residents and the redevelopment of our commercial corridor."

About Hill CDC
The Hill CDC helps residents and stakeholders to create, promote, and implement strategies and programs that connect plans, policies and people to drive compelling community development opportunities in the Greater Hill District. The Hill CDC understands the connection between a thriving community and a viable business presence. We bring resources to bear in attracting, retaining and expanding new and existing Hill District businesses. As part of our work, we offer business support programming to small businesses and entrepreneurs. To learn more visit http://www.hilldistrict.org

January 22, 2018

Woodforest Bank Foundry Celebrates First Cohort Graduation

The Woodlands, TX (January 22, 2018) – The Woodforest Bank Foundry graduated its first entrepreneurship cohort in partnership with Maestro Entrepreneur Center and The San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. 11 entrepreneurs participated in the inaugural 10-week curriculum-based business development and business accelerator cohort program for small minority, women and veteran owned businesses in San Antonio.

Woodforest Bank Foundry is a creative incubation space where entrepreneurs can collaborate, create, test and launch their ideas. The Foundry blends practical mentorship through peers and professionals and proven educational programming. The goal of the Foundry is to foster a community of entrepreneurs, turning passion into actions, and shaping the businesses of tomorrow, while creating community value.

“The graduation ceremony for our first cohort at the Maestro Center was awe-inspiring and invigorating. Watching the graduates present what they’d learned, and how they benefitted from this program is more than we could have hoped for, and we are excited to open additional foundries across 17 states in 2018 to help more entrepreneurs and small businesses grow,” said Doug Schaeffer, CRA Executive Director, EVP, Woodforest National Bank.

Woodforest Foundry Cohort Graduate

“I am deeply proud of the 11 businesses who underwent this transformative experience offered to them by the Maestro Entrepreneurship 10-Week Cohort Program,” said Elizabeth Eguía-García, Maestro’s Executive Director. “The key to our success is our partnerships. I am grateful to The Woodforest Bank Foundry grant program and the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce who made this possible.”

About MEC
Maestro Entrepreneur Center™ is a nonprofit small business incubation center founded in May 2016 in partnership with the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Located in a HUBZone, Maestro Entrepreneur Center™ serves small minority, women and veteran owned businesses in the City of San Antonio and beyond by offering its unique Maestro Accelerator Program™, and the Maestro Mentorship Program™. Clients range from diverse industries such as the industrial and professional services to culinary catering services and product. Visit MaestroCenter.org for details.

December 12, 2017

Woodforest National Bank® Named Lending Partner of the Year by Justine PETERSEN

The Woodlands, Texas - Woodforest National Bank was recently awarded “Lending Partner of the Year” by Justine PETERSEN (JP), the nation’s leading microlender for the Small Business Administration.

JP honored Woodforest with this distinction for propelling JP’s mission through a $400,000 equity investment as part of the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) CDFI Community Investment Fund, which enables JP to deploy much needed small business financing throughout its remote markets. Additionally, through a collaboration with the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), Woodforest participated in Project CUE, a small business finance referral platform for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) such as JP.

Lending Partner of the Year

“Woodforest National Bank epitomizes how a bank and a CDFI can partner and yield tangible impact for communities,” said Robert Boyle, Founder and CEO of Justine PETERSEN.

Boyle added, “Woodforest National Bank’s partnership with Justine PETERSEN transcends merely financial capital; the human capital that the bank has brought to our partnership is unparalleled. We consider Woodforest National Bank a thought leader and thought doer as it relates to enhancing the work of CDFIs not only in our footprint, but across the nation.”

Doug Schaeffer, CRA Executive Director, EVP, Woodforest National Bank, said, “I respect the work that Justine PETERSEN does and continues to do. This organization is a role model for CDFIs, and this award is a great accolade for Woodforest National Bank. We look forward to continuing to build on this relationship to create innovative ways to help small businesses and entrepreneurs be successful.”

Annually, Justine PETERSEN recognizes a financial institution that demonstrates exemplary commitment to advancing Justine PETERSEN’s mission through a monetary loan pool investment and related partnership activities. Past awardees include local, regional and national banks

About Justine PETERSEN

Founded in 1997, Justine PETERSEN furthers the legacy of social worker Justine M. Petersen, a pioneer in asset-development for low and moderate-income families. As the nation’s leading microlender for the U.S. Small Business Administration, Justine PETERSEN assists historically underserved small businesses at every stage of development with access to safe and affordable capital. Justine PETERSEN and its subsidiary CDFI (community development financial institution) offer home ownership preparation and retention services, financial education and a suite of credit building products and services. Justine PETERSEN serves the states of Missouri, eastern Kansas and downstate Illinois. For more information visit http://www.justinepetersen.org.

November 24, 2017

Woodforest National Bank®and Family Promise® Launch Three New Financial Capability Initiatives to Empower Low-Income Families Nationwide

The Woodlands, Texas - Woodforest National Bank and Family Promise, the leading national nonprofit providing comprehensive services and support for families experiencing homelessness, are expanding their three-year community partnership to introduce and expand their efforts to help low-income families gain financial understanding and capability.

Woodforest and Family Promise

Pictured from left to right: Sedrick McCallum, Community Development Team Leader, Claas Elhers, CEO, Family Promise, and Daniel Galindo, Vice President, CRA Strategic Initiatives Director

"We are extremely grateful to continue our innovative programming with Family Promise and its Affiliates to expand delivery methods by digitizing New Beginnings, a financial capability curriculum developed in 2014. Collectively we've educated thousands of families and individuals, and it feels great to empower our local communities with the knowledge to make educated decisions for their financial needs," said Doug Schaeffer, CRA Executive Director, EVP, Woodforest National Bank.

  Woodforest and Family Promise, (second picture)

Pictured from left to right: Della Spencer, Community Development Relationship Officer, Woodforest National Bank, Cathy Nash, President and CEO, Woodforest National Bank, Claas Elhers, CEO, Family Promise, and Daniel Galindo, Vice President, CRA Strategic Initiatives Director

He continued: "We're also excited to further our collaboration with Family Promise by creating a responsive, micro-enterprise curriculum focused on strengthening financial capability. This endeavor adds new resources to Family Promise's already expansive program offerings and is key for micro-enterprise development in areas that need it most. Overall, our community partnership with Family Promise helps us make a direct impact in the communities we serve, and we look forward to continuing this momentum."

In 2014, Woodforest National Bank and Family Promise teamed up to create New Beginnings, an extensive financial capability curriculum designed to address the needs of low-income families. The curriculum provides lessons in budgeting, credit, saving, banking and smart shopping.

Here is a snapshot of the new initiatives Woodforest National Bank and Family Promise will start rolling out in 2018:

  • Digitize New Beginnings – develop a web-based, interactive tool to help families increase their financial skills, reinforce lessons graduates learn while in the Family Promise classroom program and create an online resource center for other community organizations serving low-income individuals.

  • Micro-Entrepreneurial Initiative – engage and motivate individuals to go beyond basic financial concepts to begin some level of enterprise, such as creating a stand-alone business or additional income.

  • Financial Capability Program — teach families to make sound financial decisions to improve their overall financial health while positioning them for greater financial stability and mobility.

Family Promise CEO, Claas Ehlers, echoes this shared commitment: "We are thrilled to expand the community partnership with Woodforest National Bank. This collaboration has been incredibly valuable to the families we serve, our Affiliates, and Family Promise nationally. Woodforest understands the need to invest in communities and people, and shares our belief that skills and assets can move families not just from homelessness but to sustainable independence. We are fortunate to partner with such a visionary corporation."

About Family Promise

Founded in Summit in 1988 to address homelessness in Union County, Family Promise has grown into a national organization with 200+ Affiliates in 43 states. Since its inception, Family Promise has served more than 750,000 people, the majority of them children. Family Promise Affiliates served nearly 70,000 people last year by providing shelter, food, and a host of other comprehensive support services. On average, 74% of the families served by Family Promise secure housing within nine weeks of entering the program. For information about Family Promise, please visit www.familypromise.org.

November 21, 2017

Woodforest National Bank® Opens New Community Center In Aurora, Illinois

The Woodlands, Texas - Woodforest National Bank recently opened a new community center in the revitalizing Aurora, Illinois downtown area located at 140 South River Street, Suite 114. The center includes a full-service depository ATM, and a conference room available for use to community-based organizations.

Woodforest opens new community center

"Investing time and resources into the communities we serve is a top priority for Woodforest. Our goal is to have community centers like this across our footprint that foster collaboration, and provide a space for ideation sessions with local partners to develop initiatives that strengthen the neighborhoods where we live and work," said Doug Schaeffer, CRA Executive Director, EVP, Woodforest National Bank.

Community organizations who joined Woodforest National Bank leaders for a grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony included representatives from Aurora Chamber of Commerce, Aurora Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Aurora Mayor's Office, Aurora Public Library Foundation, Chicago Community Loan Fund, City of Aurora, Hesed House, Invest Aurora, Junior Achievement of Chicago, Northern Illinois Food Bank and Women's Business Development Center.

The onsite full-service depository ATM is available to assist Woodforest National Bank customers with deposits, withdrawals and around-the-clock account access (and non-bank customers with cash withdrawals 24 hours a day). Full-service Woodforest National Bank branches near the community center are conveniently located inside the Oswego, Aurora, and Montgomery, Illinois Walmart stores.

The new Woodforest National Bank community center will house community development officers and retail banking employees. The community development officers will assist with scheduling the conference room space for those working to revitalize the local Aurora community. Please visit the center to learn more.

Community center at Aurora, Illinois

November 9, 2017

Woodforest National Bank® Receives Corporate Social Responsibility Award From America's First Hispanic Chamber

The Woodlands, Texas - Woodforest National Bank recently received the Max Navarro Corporate Social Responsibility Award from the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The award was presented to Woodforest, and three other area businesses (including Walmart) who are committed to advancing diversity in San Antonio and, for recent humanitarian aid during Hurricane Harvey.

"Woodforest National Bank went above and beyond to mobilize their employees and local community members to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey," said Ramiro Cavazos, President and CEO, San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. "It's wonderful to see one of our proud San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce members taking corporate social responsibility to a new level and giving back in such a meaningful way."

Doug Schaeffer, CRA Executive Director, EVP, Woodforest National Bank added, "At Woodforest, we are committed to being responsive to the ever changing needs of our communities. Our San Antonio team endeavours to be a catalyst of change in the neighborhoods where we live and work. It is an integral part of our business to team up with local chambers and other community stakeholders to respond to disasters, and promote revitalization and economic development efforts. We are very grateful to the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for this distinguished recognition and their ongoing community partnership."

This corporate responsibility award was presented at the Leaders in Excellence Awards Luncheon held during the chamber's 2017 Business Connect Summit. The San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is San Antonio's largest independent business organization with more than 1,300 members. Learn more at sahcc.org/connect.

October 2017

Woodforest National Bank®  Honored With ABA Foundation Community Commitment Award

The Woodlands, TX (October, 2017) - Woodforest National Bank has been nationally recognized by the American Bankers Association Foundation for its Wealth Building through Homeownership program with a 2017 Community Commitment Award. The award was given to Woodforest for its efforts in the Affordable Housing category and will be presented during ABA’s annual convention in Chicago on October 17.

Entries were divided in to six categories including affordable housing, community and economic development, financial education, economic inclusion, protecting older Americans and volunteerism. Award winners were chosen by a field of nationally-recognized experts.

Woodforest’s Wealth Building through Homeownership program, created in November, 2016, expands down payment assistance (DPA) through a first-of-its kind private-public venture with Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) to encourage low-to-moderate income (LMI) homeownership through an innovative $10 million loan agreement that increased access to DPA and closing cost funds. In the first five months, the program with TDHCA created over 1,500 new homeowners, with more than 81% of homeowners being LMI, representing over $250 million in new mortgages. The effectiveness of the program was also buoyed by Woodforest expanding housing counseling capacity across Texas through both direct homeownership education as well as providing scholarships through NeighborWorks® America to Housing Counseling Organizations to prepare for the Dodd-Frank Housing Counseling Certification.

“Research indicates a down payment can be one of the biggest hurdles for a potential homeowner. By lending TDHCA $10 million in affordable, long term, and reusable capital, TDHCA was able to increase the amount of funds available to Texas borrowers for zero percent down payment and closing cost assistance loans and offer a lower rate on their first mortgage; thus reducing the cost of home ownership. Since Woodforest is not a traditional mortgage lender, we wanted to find an effective solution to help people afford a home,” said Doug Schaeffer, Executive Vice President-CRA Director for Woodforest National Bank. “This program has had a tremendous direct impact in our communities. We are proud to lead the charge in finding new and innovative ways to grow homeownership in low- and moderate-income communities across Texas. Woodforest is currently syndicating the next round of financing and encourages interested community banks and minority depository institutions to participate in this innovative program. Interested parties can contact our Community Development team at the information provided below.”

“In a public/private structure the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs works with Woodforest National Bank to fund down payment assistance, making stable and affordable home ownership possible for low, very low and moderate income Texans. In addition to the benefit to these homeowners, it helps ensure Texas communities of a more stable workforce and provides essential financing for Texas’ homebuilding industry, said Tim Irvine, Executive Director of TDHCA. “This isn’t a win/win. It’s a win/win/win/win!”

“Wealth Building through Homeownership Program demonstrates Woodforest’s strong and passionate commitment to bettering the lives of its customers and local community,” said Rob Nichols, ABA president and CEO. “Their work embodies the mission of the Community Commitment Awards and they are a truly well-deserved recipient.”

May 2017

Woodforest National Bank®Opens New Community Development and Education Center in North Main Plaza

Columbia, SC

Woodforest National Bank recently hosted a grand opening reception for their new Community Development and Education Center in Columbia, SC. Woodforest co-workers, friends, community partners, and elected officials along with local small-business owners Indah Coffee®, Rosie Girl Bakery, and Dimps Catering joined in the celebration.

The Woodforest National Bank Community Development and Education Center is located in the “banking desert” on North Main in the North Main Plaza. This corridor is a strategic investment area for the city of Columbia as they strive to build and revitalize the area through public and private investments and partnerships. Woodforest worked alongside local and regional small businesses Bricker and Beam, Franklin Smith Co., Stuyck Co. and M&M Construction to build out the center that will be utilized for small business and consumer financial education classes, and small business networking nights. Additionally, the center will be offered to area community partner organizations like Habitat for Humanity®, Harvest Hope®, Midlands Fatherhood Coalition, and What’s Next Midland in support of their mission through events, meetings, and classes.

“Woodforest is proud to be here on North Main and to help strengthen the North Main community by providing solutions to help the community succeed.” said Andrew Rabuck, Senior Vice President of Woodforest National Bank and a North Main resident of the Earlewood community.

April 2017

Woodforest National Bank®Donates $30,000 to the Hurricane Matthew Carolinas Relief Fund

Columbia, SC

Woodforest National Bank recently announced that employees throughout the state of South Carolina proudly organized fundraising efforts to help stock the shelves of Harvest Hope Food Bank. Donations collected at Woodforest branches across the state have been allocated to Harvest Hope Food Bank in support of their long-term relief efforts for Hurricane Matthew victims.

“So many families continue to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew’s severe flooding and Woodforest is proud to work with a community partner like Harvest Hope Food Bank to support its commitment to provide much needed essentials to feed these families,” stated Andrew Rabuck, Senior Vice President and South Carolina Divisional Manager of Woodforest National Bank

“Hunger is a daily crisis situation, and for those who are dealing with this crisis, the devastation of a natural disaster compounds their troubles and is often enough to push their resources beyond the brink. Harvest Hope serves the hungry on a daily basis, but during a disaster, and the recovery afterwards, our work becomes even more critical to those in need and to those impacted by the disaster. This donation from Woodforest National Bank is a blessing for Harvest Hope and those we serve. The funding will help us purchase critical resources as we continue to respond to the needs of South Carolinians affected by the disaster as they continue to recover,” said Denise Holland, CEO of Harvest Hope Food Bank.


For information regarding Harvest Hope Food Bank and how you can help with donations, visit www.harvesthope.org.

March 2017

Woodforest National Bank®Announced the Creation of CDFI Community Investment Fund, LLC.

The Woodlands, TX (March 28, 2017) – Woodforest National Bank (Woodforest) in partnership with Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) recently announced the creation of the CDFI Community Investment Fund, LLC. The fund will provide cost effective, flexible, subordinate long term investment capital for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). The fund is an equity equivalent (EQ2) investment with an initial funding commitment of $5 million, with an option to increase the commitment up to $20 million over the next four years. The fund will provide patient capital to CDFIs financing small businesses and other community development projects in affordable housing, economic development, and neighborhood revitalization and stabilization throughout Woodforest’s footprint.


Woodforest understands the tremendous impact of small businesses and the growth opportunities it can provide for a community, particularly in low-wealth neighborhoods. These small businesses are social economic drivers providing local jobs, filling the gap in goods and services, and have become effective community reinvestment drivers. Woodforest’s small business growth initiative is a multifaceted approach aimed at building America’s small businesses and enhancing access to capital, particularly women, minority, veteran, and rural small businesses. Small businesses among people of color, particularly Latino and African American women continue to grow exponentially. An integral component to ensuring small businesses have access to alternative and responsible capital is by increasing investment to CDFI’s who provide critical lending and technical expertise to aspiring and existing entrepreneurs.


“Woodforest is proud to partner with the OFN to facilitate and manage equity investments to CDFIs who play an integral role in developing small businesses, particularly in low-wealth communities,” said Doug Schaeffer, Executive Vice President-CRA Director for Woodforest National Bank. “Woodforest is deeply committed and proud to be a catalyst for change in the communities we live.”


According to Robin Odland, Executive Vice President-Financial Services for Opportunity Finance Network, “OFN is very excited to partner with Woodforest National Bank to create the CDFI Community Investment Fund, LLC—an innovative funding vehicle for CDFIs. The fund will provide much needed, flexible capital, which can be leveraged with conventional senior debt capital.”


The fund will make 10 year investments to CDFIs working within Woodforest’s 17 state market. Interested CDFIs may seek additional information by visiting ofn.org/cdfi-community-investment-fund.

January 2017

Woodforest National Bank®Donates $30,000 to the Hurricane Matthew Carolinas Relief Fund

Charlotte, NC – January 2017 – Woodforest National Bank employees throughout the state of North Carolina recently organized fundraising efforts to help stock the shelves of Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeast NC. Donations collected at every Woodforest branch across the state of North Carolina during the months of October, November, and December have been allocated to Second Harvest of Southeast NC in support of their long-term relief efforts for Hurricane Matthew victims.


So many families continue to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew’s severe flooding and Woodforest is proud to partner with Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeast NC to support their commitment to provide much needed essentials to feed these families”, stated Matthew Clatworthy, Senior Vice President and North Carolina Divisional Manager of Woodforest National Bank.


"We are grateful for the support of Woodforest National Bank, and delighted for their continued partnership in our efforts to solve hunger. This donation is a great start to the new year as we continue to provide critical relief to the many families still displaced by Hurricane Matthew”, said Ron Pringle, Director of Second Harvest Food Bank.

Hurricane Matthew Relief Fund


For information regarding Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeast NC and how you can help with donations, visit www.foodbankcenc.org.

Woodforest National Bank® helps build fourth home for Habitat for Humanity in northwest Harris County

Woodforest National Bank® and Woodforest Charitable Foundation® employees, families, and friends recently held a dedication ceremony for their fourth Habitat for Humanity home built in Northwest Harris County. The new three bedroom, 1358 square feet home located in Spring, TX was proudly built for Charles and his family who moved in to their new home just in time to enjoy the holidays.


Brian Kolenda, Vice President of Woodforest National Bank said “At Woodforest National Bank, giving back to our community, promoting financial literacy, and playing an active role in the community is an essential part of the Woodforest culture. Our dedicated employees had an unwavering commitment to Charles and his family. It was rewarding to witness the pride our employees and Charles took in building Charles’ family home from the ground up. This donation to Habitat aligns perfectly with our fundamental value of community partnership – to help ensure that everyone has a safe, decent, and affordable home.”


As part of the qualification of homeownership at Habitat for Humanity Northwest Harris County, Charles and his family were required to complete 200 hours of “sweat equity” by working to build his home alongside the Woodforest team and other community volunteers before receiving the keys to their home.


“Our main focus it to assist future homeowners achieve the strength, stability, and independence they need to build a better life for themselves and their families. We are grateful for our ongoing relationship with Woodforest National Bank and their continued support” said Soleil Watt, Executive Director for Habitat for Humanity Northwest Harris County.


For information about Woodforest National Bank®, please visit www.woodforest.com. For information regarding Habitat for Humanity NWHC and how you can volunteer or assist with a home build, visit www.habitatnwhc.org.

December 2016

State housing agency enters into $20 million loan agreement to provide qualified homebuyers with down payment and closing cost assistance

Favorable loan terms offer enhanced financing options statewide


(AUSTIN) — Prospective, lower-income first time homebuyers in Texas now have an additional resource to help with down payment and closing costs. The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (“TDHCA”), Texas’ only State housing finance agency, recently entered into a $10 million loan agreement with Woodforest National Bank® to address the need for low-cost homebuyer assistance funds.


“The favorable terms of this note allow TDHCA to leverage existing funds and to expand financing options available to lower income homebuyers in Texas,” said TDHCA Executive Director Tim Irvine. “This loan agreement was a key factor in reducing TDHCA’s first mortgage loan rate by approximately .375 percent. This is a tremendous savings to those who have steady incomes but, due to the challenges of rising rents and student loan payments, could use a little help in achieving the dream of homeownership.”


The loan agreement will fund down payment and closing cost assistance in conjunction with approximately $250 million in first lien mortgage loans and $10 million in 30-year, zero interest, second lien mortgage loans that are due on the earlier of sale, refinance, or maturity of the first lien mortgage loan.


This loan agreement demonstrates TDHCA’s and Woodforest National Bank’s commitment to give back to the community. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Since Oct. 1, 2016, TDHCA has seen twice the amount of average daily reservations for homebuyer assistance funds compared to the most recent 12 months of activity.


The Department’s need for a source of low-cost down payment assistance funds, combined with Texas based Woodforest National Bank’s goal of being a catalyst of change in the communities it serves, has resulted in this ground-breaking public-private partnerships in the area of single-family housing finance.


“Down payment assistance is one of the biggest needs for very low, low, and moderate income homebuyers,” said Woodforest National Bank Executive Vice President Doug Schaeffer. “Woodforest National Bank is thrilled to partner with TDHCA on this innovative opportunity to directly increase home ownership in our Texas communities.”


About The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs


The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is committed to expanding fair housing choice and opportunities for Texans through the administration and funding of affordable housing and homeownership opportunities, weatherization, and community-based services with the help of for-profits, nonprofits, and local governments. For more information about fair housing, funding opportunities, or services in your area, please visit www.tdhca.state.tx.us, or the Learn about Fair Housing in Texas page.

Woodforest National Bank® donates bikes to Family Promise of Lake Houston

Woodforest National Bank® employees recently donated 10 shiny new bicycles to Family Promise of Lake Houston. This donation will allow all ten children currently in the Lake Houston program to wake up with an extra surprise on Christmas morning.


Ben Cline, Branch Manager at Woodforest National Bank® stated, “We are pleased to partner with Family Promise of Lake Houston in providing a little something extra for these children. It is our hope that these gifts will bring a smile to their faces and they will know that we care about each of them, not just at Christmas time but throughout the year, as well.”


Carole Brady, Executive Director of Family Promise Lake Houston remarked, “If a child has to wake up on Christmas morning in a homeless shelter, the gift he or she receives that day needs to be amazing and from the heart. This wonderful donation of bikes from Woodforest is just that, amazing and from the heart! Family Promise of Lake Houston is so grateful that this year the children will be waking up to a gift given by such a wonderful group of people who truly do give from the heart. We are truly blessed to have Woodforest National Bank in our community.”


For information about Woodforest National Bank®, please visit www.woodforest.com. For information regarding Family Promise of Lake Houston and how you can help, visit www.fplh.org.


Hurricane Matthew Relief Fund

Woodforest National Bank donates bikes to Family Promise of Lake Houston

(Photo left to right) Bill Chapman, Asst. Branch Manager of Woodforest, Joshua Dandy, Branch Manager of Woodforest, Ben Cline, Branch Manager of Woodforest and Family Promise Board Member, Brooke Farr, Branch Manager of Woodforest and Family Promise Board Member, Cathy Nash, President and CEO of Woodforest, Rebecca McDonald, Regional Manager of Woodforest, Mike White, Retail Divisional Manager of Woodforest, and Hugo Reyna, Branch Manager of Woodforest and Family Promise Board Member.

November 2016

Woodforest National Bank® Partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters

It is through partnerships with caring and compassionate individuals, organizations, and businesses like Woodforest National Bank that enable our organization to serve the community.

Woodforest National Bank has been an active partner with Big Brothers Big Sisters since 2013. A grant in 2014 allowed our organization to purchase a new computer for our mentoring center. As a data driven organization, the technology allows us to track demographic information, allow staff to manage more matches and service them effectively, and administer gather important outcome measurement data used to improve our impact. A gift in 2015 purchased a color printer for local use. This allowed us to produce high quality informational and marketing pieces to tell the BBBS story.

In 2016, a $1,000 grant will be used to update aged furniture in the Mentoring Center. The Center is open daily and welcomes volunteers and families enrolling and actively participating in our one-to-one mentoring programs.

The investment by Woodforest National Bank, which seems small to some, has had a significant impact on our success. The enrollment of children and volunteers has increased steadily over the past four years. The average length of the matches in our care has also increased significantly due to our improvement efficiencies.

Joni Todd, Woodforest’s Macomb Branch Manager, has been an active member of our Community Board for 3 years, and her support has been substantial and invaluable. Joni is an outstanding person, cares about kids and her community, and has facilitated the partnership between BBBS and Woodforest National Bank since the very beginning. We are glad and proud to have her as a member of our team.

On behalf of all the kids, parents, and volunteers at Big Brothers Big Sisters, we thank Woodforest National Bank for its continued and very generous support. We would also like to thank Joni for her outstanding service to our organization and the community!

October 2016

Woodforest National Bank® and PeopleFund Work Together to Help Small Businesses

Small business is BIG business in Texas.  90% of all Texans work for a small business. With thousands of entrepreneurs creating jobs and building upon new ideas, it is easy to think that the American Dream can be accessed by all. Yet, many women, minorities, veterans, and low income struggle to climb the economic ladder. Thanks to Woodforest, PeopleFund is able to provide access to affordable small business loans so entrepreneurs can build their credit, grow healthy small businesses, expand their financial literacy, and provide goods and services that benefit us all.

PeopleFund is a community development nonprofit that creates economic opportunity and financial stability for underserved people through access to capital and education. We inspire, educate, fund, and elevate small businesses, nonprofits, and startups each and every day to make the American Dream a reality for those who need it most. Over the last 20 years, we’ve lent over $45 million, created 3,800 jobs, and provided 55,000 hours of business and financial education, but female entrepreneurs in our community still need our help to create jobs and achieve the American Dream.

So far this year, Woodforest and PeopleFund have teamed up for technical assistance training across Texas, partnered with low interest loan capital, and grant support for our Innovation Week education events in Austin and Houston.

Woodforest National Bank® Joins Central South Carolina Habitat for Humanity® to Support the Community

Woodforest National Bank has been valued partner of Central South Carolina Habitat for Humanity for the past four years.

Members of the Columbia branches have participated and contributed not only on the build sites, but through teaching Financial Literacy Workshops to those completing the Habitat program, being a part of the Homeowner Services Financial Committee, taking the role of two Chairs of Columbia Habitat Young Professionals, and serving on the Central SC Habitat Board of Directors. Monetarily Woodforest National Bank has partially sponsored two homes and a multitude of Habitat’s fundraising and advocacy events.

Central SC Habitat for Humanity is proud to continue the development of this partnership and cannot thank Woodforest National Bank enough for all their support, on and off the build site. Their partnership is solid proof that Woodforest Cares, Invests, and Supports its local community and those who reside in it.

September 2016

Woodforest National Bank® Volunteers with Junior Achievement® of Southeast Texas

Woodforest National Bank teaches financial literacy through Junior Achievement (JA) to several of the Houston and surrounding area schools.

Woodforest volunteers teach students of all ages the importance of financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. Depending on the program, the volunteers and students complete several activities, each activity is specifically designed for the student’s grade level.

Students in participating schools learn essential life skills to prepare them as they grow up and approach the world of work. The goal for the volunteers is to make the connection to the “real world”. The goal for the students is to make the connection between working, earning, and saving. The techniques the students learn from Woodforest volunteers and the JA curriculum help the students make informed choices in regards to their financial future.

About Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas

Since 1945, Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas’ (JASET) purpose has been to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.

JASET is part of a global organization that operates in 123 countries and reaches 9.7 million students. It is the world’s largest and fastest-growing non-profit economic education organization. Its programs are taught by classroom volunteers from the business community in your area, parents, college students, and many more.

JA's national headquarters are located in Colorado Springs, CO. JA maintains an active vision, front and center, on how it can have a positive impact on the lives of more students, guided by its core values:

  • Belief in the boundless potential of young people

  • Commitment to the principals of market-based economics and entrepreneurship

  • Passion for what we do and honesty, integrity, and excellence in how we do it

  • Respect for the talents, creativity, perspectives, and backgrounds of all individuals

  • Belief in the power of partnership and collaboration

  • Conviction in the educational and motivational impact of relevant, hands-on learning

For more information about JASET and volunteering in the classroom go to www.jahouston.org or call its main office at (713) 682-4500.

Woodforest National Bank® Proudly supports Feeding America™, Kentucky's Heartland

Woodforest National Bank (Woodforest) has been a supporter of Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland (FAKH) for several years and their community partnership with us is one that continues to grow.

The regional food bank located in Elizabethtown, Kentucky has been a benefiting organization of the Woodforest Charitable Foundation® since 2012. Each year, FAKH receives funds raised by the branches located within their service area to support children who are at risk of going hungry on the weekends when school meals are not available. Through their BackPack Program, these children receive a bag of food to take home each weekend during the school year. With the help of donors like Woodforest there are currently over 5,000 students in 35 Kentucky counties who benefit from this program.

However, since 2012, Woodforest and its employees have expanded its support from being solely monetary to now include volunteer efforts and participation in FAKH’s Board of Directors. In 2015, Jared Grant, Regional Manager for Western Kentucky, joined FAKH’s Board of Directors. As a Board Member Jared not only attends meetings where he provides insight on how to improve FAKH and better serve those in need, but he continues to find new ways to be engage with FAKH. One example is the Hunger Action Month Day of Service that is hosted by FAKH each September. This day is a special volunteer event where, in addition to the local community, local officials, State Representatives and Senators, and Board Members are invited to the Volunteer Center to “join in the fight against hunger”. Jared has participated every year. Not only does he make an effort to be involved himself, he also encourages his employees to do the same.

Over the past few months Jared has recruited several Woodforest employees from his region to participate in various FAKH volunteer events. In August he and two others spent several hours at the monthly food distribution in Bowling Green, Kentucky where they helped provide food to local individuals and families who struggle with hunger. In September, Jared continued these efforts by getting local employees to join him for this year’s Hunger Action Month Day of Service.

The support FAKH continues to receive from Woodforest, Woodforest Charitable Foundation, and others across its region is vital to its mission of serving those in need across their 42 county service area in Kentucky. If you want to learn more about how you can help Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland provide food to those it serves visit its website at www.feedingamericaky.org. or at 270-769-6997.

About Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland

Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland is a regional food bank that provides assistance to more than 174,500 people in 42 Kentucky counties each year. Through support from individuals and organizations, such as United Way, FAKH distributes over 14 million pounds of food to approximately 200 food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. FAKH also sponsors various hunger relief programs including the BackPack™ Program and Senior Box (CSFP) Program. FAKH’s main office and warehouses are located on Peterson Drive in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. For more information or to volunteer, sponsor a fundraiser or a food drive, or to make a secure online donation to Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland, visit their website at: www.feedingamericaky.org.

Woodforest National Bank® Proudly supports Transitions Recovery Center

Established in 2008 and opened for business in 2011, Transitions Recover Center, located at the corner of Main and Calhoun streets in downtown Columbia, is the largest and most comprehensive homeless center in the Midlands. As its name suggests, the mission of Transitions is to help people transition from homelessness into stable and independent living situations as part of becoming productive members of the community.

In the 5 years since Transitions opened its doors, Transitions continues to develop new programs to meet the health, job, and life skills training needs of the homeless population. On August 1st, it began a pilot program to address a very important need that was going unmet in our area — support for unaccompanied youth, ages 18-24. Some are homeless because they had aged out of the Foster Care system, others because they had been disowned by their family. But the staff and collaborative partners that work with Transitions, have stepped in to provide the safe and stable environment our homeless youth need while they receive the help needed to move forward in a positive direction with their lives.

Woodforest is proud to support Transitions. We recently stopped by the Center to present a grant check and were treated to a personal tour of the 260 bed facility, by CEO Craig Currey and Development Vice President ,Liz Igleheart. We encourage everyone to call for a tour and to look at volunteer opportunities at Transitions. Check out its website at www.transitionssc.org to learn more. Columbia is very lucky to have this organization, which recently received the prestigious 5 Star Charity Navigator rating, and Woodforest is glad we can be a part of making a positive difference in our community.

August 2016

Woodforest National Bank® Teaches Financial Education to Ruth's Place Residents

Woodforest National Bank teaches financial education to the residents of Ruth’s Place Women’s Shelter. Woodforest teaches the residents the importance of saving money for retirement, education, down payments, and ways to handle unexpected events. The residents complete several activities including defining individualized savings goals and strategies to accomplish these goals. Woodforest also covers a variety of other financial education topics during these classes.

The residents of Ruth’s Place Women’s Shelter learn these crucial life skills to assist them when they exit the shelter. The goal is to help them manage their personal finances and obtain permanent housing. The techniques learned help residents make informed choices when it comes to their financial future.

About Ruth’s Place

Ruth’s Place, a program of Volunteers of America® of Pennsylvania, is dedicated to providing shelter and case management services for women experiencing homelessness while honoring the dignity of each guest. Using evidence-based practices, the program provides safe, temporary and short-term emergency shelter for women experiencing homelessness in Luzerne County; coordinates and collaborates with other service providers and volunteers to assure the provision of services that address their basic physical, financial, health and spiritual needs; and assists sheltered guests to form and follow a permanent housing plan to quickly achieve stable, long term housing. Ruth’s Place is a faith-based program founded by the Methodist Urban Ministry in 2003. It operated as Ruth’s Place: House of Hope, Inc. from 2008 to 2013. In July of 2013 Ruth's Place merged with Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania.

For more information about Ruth’s Place visit www.ruthsplace.com.

September 2015

Woodforest National Bank® Gives Back to its Communities

Just imagine you are standing in front of Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Robert Harjavec and Lori Griener on the set of the TV hit series “Shark Tank” pitching your business in 30 seconds or less and maintaining your cool. Now imagine you are one of eight non-profits pitching your business in front of a group of engaged bankers, community leaders and informed citizens. Hopefully the latter is a little less stressful. This spring, Woodforest National Bank presented two nonprofit organizations with grants of $10,000 each to aid with Caroline Bankerspecific goals and organizational needs following a “Shark Tank”-style competition. I was fortunate enough to attend one of the grant competitions in Raleigh and spoke with Matthew Clatworthy, vice president of Woodforest National Bank. Just imagine you are standing in front of Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Robert Harjavec and Lori Griener on the set of the TV hit series “Shark Tank” pitching your business in 30 seconds or less and maintaining your cool. Now imagine you are one of eight non-profits pitching your business in front of a group of engaged bankers, community leaders and informed citizens. Hopefully the latter is a little less stressful. This spring, Woodforest National Bank presented two nonprofit organizations with grants of $10,000 each to aid with specific goals and organizational needs following a “Shark Tank”-style competition. I was fortunate enough to attend one of the grant competitions in Raleigh and spoke with Matthew Clatworthy, vice president of Woodforest National Bank.

Read full article >>

Source: Kathleen Donnelly, Carolina Banker

May 2015

Seton Home nominates Woodforest National Bank for United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County’s Volunteer of the Year Award!

 Seton Homes  www.setonhomesa.org

Mommy's Place  Woodforest is the “can-do” crew. When in doubt we can always turn to their friendly team for a helping hand! Our community partnership with Woodforest National Bank has resulted in a mutually beneficial relationship for our young families, the health of our agency, and for the development of Woodforest staff. We appreciate having Woodforest volunteers who work alongside staff in the followings ways; development and delivery of financial literacy program, board and committee involvement, ‘flash-mob’ volunteers with high-level customer service skills and great personalities.

In the past 15 months, Woodforest has generously offered 49 financial literacy classes, collectively contributing over 11,500 hours of volunteer service. Woodforest tailors curriculum and realistic shopping experiences for our young moms which help them to visualize themselves as the sole providers for their households. Not a week goes by without Woodforest volunteers modeling community responsibility on our campus. Mommy’s Place at Seton Home, sponsored by Woodforest, challenges our agency to rethink how we provide for our families – shifting to a model which encourages independent decision making.

Woodforest’s planning and extraordinary effort with Seton Home program staff has made it possible for Seton Home moms to earn leadership points which translate into buying power at Mommy’s Place. Since the Mommy’s Place Award Program started in December Seton Home moms have earned over 2,400 leadership “bucks” from doing extra housework, job shadowing, having perfect attendance/punctuality, and for going out of their way to befriend their peers. Woodforest has gone out of its way to make Mommy’s Place parallel the real-life struggle that we all have when it comes making the decision to either purchase material items or save our money. The program teaches consumer choices and helps our moms learn how to best manage limited resources. With the help of Woodforest volunteers, Seton Home moms are setting financial goals and making progress toward those goals.

In the San Antonio region, Woodforest has garnered 100% volunteer participation from all 19 bank locations with each local branch manager serving on a board or committee of a local nonprofit. We are fortunate to have local branch managers serving on special event and development committees as well as on our Board of Governors. Other agencies benefited by the bank include San Antonio Food Bank, Christian Hope Resource Center, and Guadalupe County United Way. Woodforest employees advocate for the success of our young families in 4 area counties: sporting volunteer shirts on Fridays, making special appeals which encourage local philanthropy, and never ceasing to surprise us! Seton Home proclaims, “Woodforest is an especially noteworthy organization in the San Antonio community!” They make an effort to consider how they can really be of help before they are even asked. They serve not only with resources and talent, but also with true heart.”

Article provided by Seton Home

January 2015

Woodforest National Bank to Present $50,000 Check to Alliance CDFI: Ways to Work

National Partnership Helps Low to Moderate-Income Working Families Access Affordable Vehicles, Increase Financial Capability, and Promote Self-Sufficiency

Ways to Work is a unique Community Development Financial Institution based in Milwaukee, WI. Through a network of loan offices across the country, Ways to Work provides financial education and short-term, low-interest loans to working families with challenging credit histories. Most clients use their loan to purchase a reliable pre-owned vehicle to enhance their ability to remain engaged in the workforce and better manage their lives. The program provides an alternative to predatory lending for people with a demonstrated commitment to achieving increased economic self-sufficiency and who are intent on pursuing a higher degree of success in mainstream financial markets. All agencies that operate the Ways to Work program are members of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, a national network of nearly 500 human-serving organizations.

Woodforest National Bank

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