Philadelphia.Today: Penn Community Bank’s Partnership with Clarifi Helps Philadelphians Achieve Homeownership

Our executive director, Steve Gardner, wrote about the importance of partnerships for growing our financial counseling model.

Excerpt: The day she left an abusive relationship in 2016, Fortune had saved just enough money for a deposit on an apartment for her and her two kids. She left with no high school degree, no work experience, and zero savings. At 27, she didn’t know anything about credit, and her score ranked poor.

What she did know: Fortune was going to buy a home for her family.

“Being in a domestic violence situation, and having children – it just gave me determination,” she said.

First, she needed to cut back on expenses and improve her credit. She went to Clarifi, the largest nonprofit in the Delaware Valley, offering free, one-on-one financial and housing counseling to people in economically marginalized and underserved communities.

A Clarifi counselor helped her build credit and access safe banking products. She learned how to budget. Over the next few years, she saved money, improved her credit score, and set new milestones until she was ready to buy a home.

Fortune is one of over 200 Philadelphians who benefit from the money that Penn Community Bank has invested in Clarifi. Over the past year, more than half of those clients improved their financial health, from creating and following a spending plan to boosting their credit by at least 35 points.

Read more about Fortune and our partnership here.