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Industry Leaders Found Network to Financially Empower Maine Immigrants

ProsperityME: The Center for Financial Education is pleased to announce a new partnership program bringing together Maine’s financial services industry in support of the immigrant community.

The Maine Immigrants Prosperity Network, or MIPN, is a network designed to help members better connect with the immigrant community and play a more active role in helping many low-income people across the state improve their overall economic well-being. Members of the network will contribute to ProsperityME’s financial education and counseling programming through membership dues and by meeting semiannually to address the barriers to full economic integration that many immigrants face.

“We recognize that New Mainers are a critical part of the future workforce and fabric of our communities” said Jeanne Hulit, President of Maine Community Bank. Maine Community Bank formed as the result of a merger between Biddeford Savings and Mechanics Savings Banks. “We want to be partners in their success.”

Many immigrants have at least one bank account, but as a group they remain “underbanked” - meaning they are not fully vested in savings, credit accounts, investment accounts, and insurance when compared to the average American. Poor or absent credit and chronic underbanking are proven barriers to economic advancement for immigrant and low-income families.

“Maine credit unions are deeply committed to welcoming New Mainers,” said Todd Mason, President and CEO of the Maine Credit Union League. “We recognize financial education and financial security go hand-in-hand and look forward to working with ProsperityME and others on this new initiative.”

7,000 immigrants arrived in Maine between 2010 and 2015. That same five-year period saw a total population growth of only 967 people, suggesting that without immigration, Maine’s overall population would be in decline. “Helping immigrants and refugees achieve financial success is one way to support a thriving and vibrant community.” said Kay Whitmore, VP of Human Resources at Acadia Insurance.

Network members represent all aspects of the financial services industry. Founding members of MIPN include TD Bank, Gorham Savings Bank, Maine Community Bank, Bath Savings Institution, the Maine Credit Union League, Acadia Insurance, Win Financial Strategy, and investment firm Great Diamond Partners. Members will collaborate directly with ProsperityME staff and volunteers, connect with the immigrant community, and directly support ProsperityME’s financial literacy and education programming.

“ProsperityME is a unique nonprofit organization,” said Claude Rwaganje, the Executive Director and Founder ProsperityME. Mr. Rwaganje initially founded ProsperityME in 2009 in response to an alarming lack of basic financial literacy in the immigrant community. ProsperityME has since helped over 4,000 immigrants and their families understand their finances and open necessary financial accounts to invest in their futures. “We work very, very hard to provide immigrants with the essential tools and understanding of the American financial system. We don’t say, “no.” We say, “how?” The Maine Immigrants Prosperity Network is a “how.””

To learn more about MIPN or becoming a member, please contact Matteson Nadeau, Marketing and Development Manager at ProsperityME.

Membership Contacts:

Claude Rwaganje

Executive Director

(207) 797-7890x105

Matteson Nadeau

Marketing and Event Manager

(207) 797-7890x102

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