Texas Access to Justice Foundation
Texas Exchange Bank Becomes a Prime Partner, Helps Boost Funding for Legal Aid in Texas
AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Exchange Bank 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 a large portion of its 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, Texas Exchange Bank and our other Prime Partners help ensure that low-income Texans will have access to basic civil legal services,” Richard L. Tate, chair of the board of directors for the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, said. “During these difficult economic times, many Texans are facing serious challenges, such as foreclosures or domestic violence situations, and simply do not have the funds to hire an attorney.”
Texas Exchange Bank has branches in Crowley and Fort Worth.
“Texas Exchange Bank is committed to serving and helping our local community,” said Mike Palmer, CEO of Texas Exchange Bank, said. “We are proud to become a Prime Partner and hope that the additional funds generated will make a significant difference in the lives of low-income Texans in need of civil legal services.”
More than six 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, Disability Rights Texas and the Tarrant County Bar Veterans Program are among those that receive funding from the Texas Access to Justice Foundation in the Fort Worth area.
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 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.
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