The Texas Brand Bank of Dallas and the Austin Capital Bank have joined the Texas Access to Justice Foundation’s, or TAJF, Prime Partner Bank program. The program brings together more banks and credit unions to add to available funding to the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts, or IOLTA, which helps aid low-income Texans facing civil legal issues.
Partnering institutions pay higher interest rates for IOLTA, where funds are held until they are available to a client. TAJF also uses money in these accounts to distribute grants to legal aid providers in Texas. Each year, IOLTA funds provide legal assistance to more than 150,000 Texas families.
“Many Texans face serious legal issues, such as escaping situations of domestic violence or avoiding foreclosure, and simply do not have the resources to hire an attorney,” said Richard L. Tate, chair of the TAJF Board of Directors. “By paying higher interest rates on IOLTA accounts, Texas Brand Bank is helping ensure that low-income Texans have access to life-saving civil legal services.”
Because of a 70 percent decline in IOLTA revenue since 2007, $140 million in funding has been lost, making Prime Partner Bank vital to efforts in providing free legal services for low-income and disadvantaged Texans. The combined efforts of partners like Austin Capital Bank and the Texas Brand Bank of Dallas pay 75 percent of IOLTA accounts’ federal funds target rate interest.
“Austin Capital Bank was built on a foundation of helping the community it serves,” said bank CEO and president Erik Beguin in a press release. “We are excited to join the Prime Partner Bank program and help make a positive impact on the lives of disadvantaged Texans who need affordable legal assistance.”
More than 5.6 million Texans qualify for legal aid, though many are turned away because providers don’t have the resources to help everyone. Prime Partner banks are vital in reaching those who providers cannot cover.
“Texas Brand Bank, with three offices in the Dallas metropolitan area, is an active supporter of numerous organizations in our local community” said bank president William E. Lowe in a press release. “We are excited to participate in the Prime Partner Bank program to help make an impact on the lives of disadvantaged Texans who need legal assistance.”
For more information on Prime Partner Bank and its nearly 60 participating institutions, go to teajf.org/financial_institutions/prime_partners.aspx.