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Regions Rolls Out Financial Education Program

The bank has launched Regions Next Step to offer free online tools and resources for customers

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Regions Rolls Out Financial Education Program

Regions Bank has launched a range of online financial education tools and services to help people manage their money amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bank – one of the top 25 in the US by assets – has rolled out free podcasts, webinars, articles, infographics and other resources to “help people navigate financial challenges, stay on track and safeguard their future”, it said in a statement.

Joye Hehn, community financial education manager at Regions, said: “The coronavirus outbreak quickly made a huge impact on our daily lives, and many of us are finding that right now we need to rethink our budget to build a deeper emergency savings cushion, or perhaps even create a budget for the first time.”

Regions’ free services include calculators and worksheets to help with budget-planning, as well as a series of interactive courses on various finance subjects designed for remote learning.

The launch comes as US consumers face one of the most challenging periods in recent history.

Data from the National Endowment for Financial Education reported that 88% of Americans said the pandemic had put their financial position under stress. More than half (54%) said they were concerned that they did not have enough savings, while 48% said they were worried about their ability to pay bills.

A quarter (26%) said they were delaying major financial decisions due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

In addition, 28% of respondents said they were concerned about their job security.

US non-farm payrolls plummeted by 20.5 million during April as the effects of the pandemic and economic shutdown hit hard. The unemployment reached 14.7%, according to the Labor Department, the highest level since the Second World War.

While economic support packages such as the Paycheck Protection Program have provided short-term relief to businesses and allowed them to protect jobs, many analysts predict a deep recession this year with more jobs being put at risk.

Other institutions have launched similar financial education programs in recent weeks. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has made a range of resources available for free via its 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy website.

A number of US banks have urged customers to be vigilant against fraud attempts, amid an increase in scams linked to the COVID-19 outbreak.

USAA warned of criminals posing as members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization, aiming to obtain personal information, selling fake test kits or offering non-existent vaccines.

It also warned against scammers asking for donations to fake charities or offering fake jobs.

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