News Release

 
September 27, 2011

First State Bank Becomes a Prime Partner Bank, Helps Boost Funding for Legal Aid in Texas

 

AUSTIN, Texas First State Bank – with locations in Ennis, Italy, Rice and Waxahachie – 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). The Texas Access to Justice Foundation receives a large portion of its funding from IOLTA 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, which currently pay one percent on IOLTA accounts, have a direct impact on the amount of money available to help low-income Texans with their civil legal issues.   Nearly 5.7 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 is among those that receive funding from the Texas Access to Justice Foundation in the North Texas area.

“By making the choice to pay higher interest rates on IOLTA accounts, First State Bank and our other Prime Partners help ensure that low-income Texans will have access to basic civil legal services,” Betty Balli Torres, executive director of the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, said. “During these 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.”

“At First State Bank, we are committed to serving and helping our local community,” said Mike Montgomery, President. “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.”

The Texas Access to Justice Foundation has seen a 73 percent decline in IOLTA revenue since 2007 due to the impact of low interest rates. Prime Partners, such as First State Bank, help to mitigate the decline in revenue available to fund legal aid.

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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 more than 100,000 Texans each year.



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

 

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