It’s our anniversary! 🥳
It’s been one year since we welcomed M&T Bank to our partnership with the Mexican Consulate of New York. With M&T Bank as our anchor partner at La Ventanilla de Asesoría Financiera (the Financial Education Window), we look forward to continuing our work of supporting the economic education, empowerment, and financial opportunities of the Mexican community in New York City.
“M&T is proud to support Ariva’s partnership with the Mexican Consulate of New York City through the Ventanilla program. The partnership and its vital programming is a model that should be replicated across the country.” —Steve Flax, Administrative VP, M&T Bank Community Reinvestment Group
Since 2014, La Ventanilla has successfully provided free community tax and financial education services to support Mexican immigrants in their financial journey. Free financial help is accessible at a safe and trusted place – their own Consulate – and to a community that otherwise may not have sought financial counseling, and is additionally underbanked and underserved by the financial industry.
“People who come here feel at home. We serve them in Spanish. They feel the comfort of the Mexican government supporting them, so they know for sure that this is a trustworthy organization,” says Laila Figueroa, Asuntos Comunitarios at the Mexican Consulate. “Plus, the amount of people I see coming here every day asking for the services of La Ventanilla is really high. It’s clear that it’s important to have this kind of counseling here at the Consulate,” she adds.
Visitors at La Ventanilla receive free, confidential advice from our professional financial counselors on how to access safe and affordable banking products, how to establish and improve credit, reduce and manage debt, budget, build savings, apply for ITIN numbers, and file taxes through our free tax preparation NYC program.
Just this past year, from April 2021 to May 2022, our team at La Ventanilla conducted 1,849 financial counseling sessions for 1,257 people. We also helped the community apply for the Excluded Workers Fund and for affordable housing through our Ready to Rent program.
Our free tax help NYC program at La Ventanilla also prepared 358 tax returns, including 175 recipients of the Child Tax Credit, for a total of $746,000 in tax refunds!
It’s clear from the numbers alone that demand from the community is already there. By building education and awareness of the financial structures of their new hometown, Mexican and other Hispanic & Latino immigrants to New York City not only avoid the many predatory services that exist, but also integrate more fully and comfortably into the existing financial system—rather than living at the fringes.
For example, many of the folks our team sees at La Ventanilla aren’t aware of the value of filing taxes yearly.
“If you’re able to prove your income, then you’re able to apply for the financial products that you need. For example, if you want to apply for a mortgage or a business loan, the bank is going to want to see your income and credit. That’s why it’s important to file your taxes—even if you get paid in cash,” says Adelaida Morin, the Senior Program Director here at Ariva.
It’s all about building your financial future, for yourself and your family.
Although our free financial counseling NYC and community tax programs at La Ventanilla take place at the Mexican Consulate, these services are available for everyone. Our bilingual (English & Spanish) financial counselors and tax preparers are ready to assist you in your financial journey, no matter where you come from!
“It shouldn’t matter what your native language, ZIP code, or country of origin is. What matters is that everyone should have access to the same opportunities in life, wherever they come from,” Adelaida adds.
Perfectly said—and we couldn’t agree more. 💯
We are so excited about the relationships we have with the community, as well as the incredible partnerships with M&T Bank and the Mexican Consulate of New York. Thanks to this collaboration, our services at La Ventanilla will continue to grow and serve more people, allowing us to fulfill our mission and vision of a more inclusive world.