News Release

Texas Access to Justice Foundation 
November 17, 201
5

Western Bank Joins Prime Partner Program, Helps Boost Funding for Legal Aid

AUSTIN, Texas – Western 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 funding from IOLTA accounts—a method to fund legal aid by collecting interest on client trust accounts—and uses this money to distribute grants to legal aid providers in the state, which 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, Western 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. “Many Texans face serious legal issues, such as foreclosures or domestic violence situations, and simply do not have the funds to hire an attorney.”

Western Bank has six locations: Abilene, Big Spring, Brownwood, Coahoma, Loraine and Lubbock. It is now one of nearly 60 banks that participate in the Prime Partner Bank program throughout the state.

“Western Bank is committed to serving and helping our local community,” President Dan Odom 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 5.8 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 Legal Aid Society of Lubbock are among several legal aid programs in the area 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.

See a current list of Prime Partner banks in Texas at: http://www.teajf.org/financial_institutions/prime_partners.aspx

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The Texas Access to Justice Foundation, created by the Supreme Court of Texas in 1984, is the largest 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 more than 100,000 Texas families each year. For more information, please visit: www.teajf.org.

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

 

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