Boston Builds Credit was created by United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, the City of Boston, and LISC Boston. Working with our network of community partners, we provide Bostonians with increased access to the tools they need to build a prime credit score, including free credit building workshops, free financial coaching, and safe credit building products. We also work with funders, financial institutions, credit bureaus, and other leaders in the industry to advocate for consumer-focused systems change. Most of all, we’re on a mission to make credit work for everyone.
Key strategies include:
The Financial Check-Up
Credit Building as an Employee Benefit
Public Policy & Advocacy
Safe Credit Building Products
Credit Building Worskhops
Over 200,000 Boston residents have either limited or no credit history, or a poor credit score.
The Boston Context
The cost and instability that come with these worsen issues of income inequality and perpetuate the racial wealth gap. In Boston, this gap is particularly alarming — white families have an average net worth of $247,000 while African American families have an average net worth of $8. Moreover, residents of neighborhoods with high percentages of persons of color are more likely to have subprime credit scores and debts in collection than residents of majority-white ones.
Though this structural inequity has many causes, credit building and the associated access, savings, and stability that good credit provides, can and must be a part of the solution.
Services and Advocacy
BBC works with 25+ community and employer partners to connect residents to credit building workshops, credit counseling sessions, and one-on-one financial coaching. We also provide practitioners with ongoing training and support through the United Way’s Financial Empowerment Learning Institute and communities of practice for financial coaches, career coaches, and organizations interested in credit building generally.
To improve systems and reduce systemic barriers to good credit, BBC works with credit bureaus, financial institutions, funders, and policymakers to ensure continued investment in quality credit building programs, safe financial products, and consumer protections.
Promoting racial equity as a core strategy.
Boston Builds Credit (BBC) seeks to close the racial wealth gap by breaking down barriers to good credit for those who identify as Black, Indigenous, and persons of color (BIPOC) and are most affected by structural inequities in the financial system. We’re committed to racial equity in our work and how we carry it out.
The goal of this snapshot is to help BBC staff, committees, partners, and community members develop a shared understanding of BBC’s current racial equity practice, reflect on progress made, and figure out together how best to advance our racial equity practice.
Racial Equity Defined
Race can no longer be used to predict life outcomes, and outcomes are improved for all groups. Racial equity exists when those most impacted by racism are meaningfully involved in the creation and implementation of the institutional policies and practices that impact their lives
BBC focuses on improving access to credit for communities of color, which have been historically marginalized by the credit system. Our services target Boston neighborhoods with majority Black and Latino or Hispanic residents. As a result, 78% identified BBC clients who participate in financial coaching and financial check-ups identified as Black and Latino or Hispanic.