News Release

Texas Access to Justice Foundation 
November 5, 2012

Texas Access to Justice Foundation Observes Prime Partner Bank Recognition Month
Foundation Launches “I Bank on Justice” Campaign

The AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Access to Justice Foundation is recognizing banks and financial institutions that help invest in justice through the Texas IOLTA (Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts) program during Prime Partner Bank month in November. More than 70 banks and credit unions are committed to being Prime Partners and directly benefit the funding of civil legal services in Texas communities.

Prime Partner banks voluntarily pay higher interest rates on IOLTA accounts, helping close the gap in legal services funding. These banks have contributed millions of dollars in IOLTA revenue throughout Texas.

The Foundation recognizes the 13 banks that have participated in this program since its inception more than five years ago with the Prime Partners in Justice Award. They include:

Huntington State Bank -  Huntington, Lufkin, Nacogdoches
LegacyTexas Bank  - Plano, Dallas, Fort Worth and others
Lindale State Bank - Lindale
Lone Star National Bank - Pharr, Brownsville, Edinburg, McAllen and others
NewFirst National Bank - El Campo, Houston, Victoria and others
North Dallas Bank & Trust Co. - Dallas, Addison, Frisco, Plano and others
Northstar Bank of Texas - Denton, Grapevine, Lewisville and others
PlainsCapital Bank - Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and others
Preston State Bank - Dallas
Security State Bank - Littlefield, Lubbock, Olton
Texas Brand Bank - Garland
Town North Bank - Dallas, Carrollton, Farmers Branch

The Foundation is also launching the “I Bank on Justice” campaign highlighting lawyers, firms and bar associations investing in justice by banking at a Prime Partner Bank. Lawyers and organizations are encouraged to bank at Prime Partner Banks whose higher interest rates help provide assistance to Texas families seeking justice for an abused child, receiving health benefits for an elderly person, or getting a family back in their home when faced with a foreclosure or eviction.

More than 5.7 million Texans qualify for legal aid and many are turned away due to a lack of resources. The decline in IOLTA revenue has resulted in a crisis in access to the justice system for low-income and poor Texans.

The Supreme Court of Texas created the IOLTA program in 1984 as a means of providing funds for legal aid. For many years, the system worked as it was intended, and played a major role in the funding of the state’s legal aid system. Due to the plunge in interest rates in 2008, the revenue generated from the program has plummeted. As a result, low-income Texans are forced to face serious, complicated and sometimes life-threatening civil legal issues on their own.

In 2007, IOLTA generated revenue in excess of $20 million; in 2012, it is projected to total only $4.4 million—a decline of more than 75 percent.

Special website and social media spotlights will be featured throughout the month at www.teajf.org and on Facebook.

 

# # #

The Texas Access to Justice Foundation (www.teajf.org), created by the Supreme Court of Texas in 1984, is the primary 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 Texans each year.

 

Contact: Kimberly Schmitt
512-320-0099, ext. 104
kschmitt@teajf.org

 

 

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