Ascend One and Howard Bank Fund Financial Education at the Multiservice Center

Mary Ann Scully and Joseph V. Murray, Sr.
  Howard Bank President & CEO Mary Ann Scully and Ascend One Corp. Director of Community Relations Joseph V. Murray, Sr., visit the North Laurel-Savage Multiservice Center, the site of an innovative financial literacy program funded by their companies.
For many of the clients at the North Laurel/Savage Multiservice center, financial struggles are a part of daily life. More than two-thirds of the people seeking assistance at the center live at or below the poverty level. But now, financial education and counseling are available to Multiservice Center clients, thanks to grants from Ascend One Corporation and Howard Bank.

The $2000 grants to makingCHANGE, a local nonprofit that offers financial literacy seminars and free online courses for consumers, fund a financial literacy pilot program that will continue through March at the Multiservice Center.

"People at all income levels need help with budgeting and financial counseling, but this is particularly true for folks who are struggling to pay their bills and keep their families afloat," said Ascend One CEO and Chairman Bernie Dancel. "If we can help people learn simple, straight-forward ways to better manage their money, it will have a big impact on their finances and their peace-of-mind."

The family-based financial education focuses on banking, budgeting, credit and saving. Clients learn to monitor expenses and create a budget, develop a plan to pay down debt and improve their credit history and set and achieve savings goals. Families leave each session with action items they can use to begin improving their financial lives and are invited back for follow-up sessions.

Howard Bank chair, president and CEO Mary Ann Scully said the pilot program "goes to the heart of our financial literacy efforts. Individual family education can make a tremendous difference in the financial lives of Multiservice Center clients."

"Howard Bank believes that achieving greater levels of financial literacy is the first step to families taking control of their future rather than leaving control in the hands of others," Scully added.

Howard Bank opened in August of 2004. It has branches in the Village of Hickory Ridge in Columbia, on Snowden River Parkway in Ellicott City, on Johns Hopkins Road in Maple Lawn and at the intersection of Route 40 and Centennial Lane in Ellicott City. It also has a branch on Annapolis Exchange Parkway in Annapolis.

For information about the bank, call 410-750-0020 or visit www.howardbank.com.

Ascend One is a leading debt-management company. Founded by Bernie Dancel in 1997 as the Amerix Corporation, its family of businesses includes CareOne Services, Amerix Corp. and 3Ci.

For more information about Ascend One, visit the company's Web site, www.ascendone.com.