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EECU Joins Prime Partner Program, Boosts Funding for Texas Legal Aid
Monday, May 18, 2015 6:50 AM

EECU is the newest member of the Texas Access to Justice Foundation’s Prime Partner Bank program. Prime Partner banks and credit unions voluntarily pay higher interest rates on Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) and have a direct impact on the amount of money available to help low-income Texans with their civil legal issues.

The Texas Access to Justice Foundation receives funding from IOLTA accounts—a method to fund legal aid by collecting interest on client trust accounts—and uses this money for grants to legal aid providers in the state that help more than 100,000 Texas families each year. Prime Partner financial institutions pay 1 percent on IOLTA accounts, which is above and beyond the eligibility requirements for banks participating in the IOLTA program.

“By making the choice to pay higher interest rates on IOLTA accounts, EECU and our other Prime Partners help ensure that low-income Texans will have access to basic civil legal services,” said Texas Access to Justice Foundation Chairman of the Board Richard L. Tate. “Many Texans face serious legal issues, such as foreclosures or domestic violence situations, and simply do not have the funds to hire an attorney.”

EECU has 13 locations in the Fort Worth area and over 180,000 members across the Metroplex. It is now one of nearly 60 financial institutions that participate in the Prime Partner program throughout the state.

“EECU is committed to serving and helping our local community,” EECU CEO Lonnie Nicholson said. “We are proud to become a Prime Partner and hope the additional funds generated will make a significant difference in the lives of disadvantaged Texans in need of civil legal services.”

More than 5.6 million Texans qualify for legal aid, and the increasing civil legal needs of the poor continue to outpace the funding available for civil legal services. Legal aid offices assist in matters dealing with family, housing, employment, and consumer law, and those recovering from the effects of natural disasters. 

Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas and the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program are among the legal aid programs in North Texas that receive funding from the Texas Access to Justice Foundation.

The Texas Access to Justice Foundation has seen more than a 75 percent decline in IOLTA revenue since 2007 due to the impact of low-interest rates. Prime Partners help to mitigate the decline in revenue available to fund legal aid.

The Texas Access to Justice Foundation (www.teajf.org), created by the Supreme Court of Texas in 1984, is the leading state-based funding source for the provision of civil legal aid in Texas. The organization is committed to the vision that all Texans will have equal access to justice, regardless of their income. The Foundation administers a variety of funding sources, which are earmarked to assist nonprofit organizations in providing legal aid to approximately 100,000 Texas families each year.