The Texas Access to Justice Foundation, or TAJF, the largest state-based funding source for civil legal aid, announced Wells Fargo has joined the TAJF’s Prime Partner bank program, a significant step toward making legal assistance more accessible for thousands of Texans. Funding from this program helps TAJF provide legal aid services to more than 100,000 Texans across the state each year.
Prime Partner banks and credit unions voluntarily pay higher interest rates for Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts, or IOLTA, a method of raising money for civil legal aid and to support improvements to the justice system. Prime Partner financial institutions pay 75% of the federal funds target rate on IOLTA accounts, which is well above the eligibility requirements for banks participating in the IOLTA program.
“Many Texans are facing serious economic hardships, including evictions and domestic violence situations, and simply do not have the funds to hire an attorney,” said TAJF Board of Directors Chair Deborah Hankinson in a press release. “By paying higher interest rates on IOLTA accounts, Prime Partner banks help ensure that low-income Texans have access to basic and essential civil legal services. We welcome a well-known and leading financial institution like Wells Fargo to the Prime Partner program.”
Approximately 5.2 million Texans qualify for legal aid, the second-highest number in the nation. Legal aid organizations help Texas families each year, but due to a lack of resources, many continue to suffer or unsuccessfully attempt to represent themselves in the complex court system. For more information about the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, go to teajf.org.