News Release

Texas Access to Justice Foundation 
May 16, 2013

Texas Access to Justice Foundation Honors Fort Bend and Harris County Prime Partner Banks
Banks Recognized with "Prime Partners in Justice Award"


AUSTIN, Texas — Today, the Texas Access to Justice Foundation recognized banks in Fort Bend and Harris counties that contribute to access to justice through the Texas IOLTA (Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts)
Prime Partner Bank program. Prime Partner banks voluntarily pay higher interest rates on IOLTA accounts to help close the gap in legal services funding. The banks were honored during the Justice for All luncheon, sponsored by Fort Bend Lawyers Care, at the Safari Texas Ranch in Richmond.

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 lawyers’ 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 one 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, Prime Partner banks 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.”

The Foundation recognized Lowery Bank and NewFirst National Bank with the Prime Partners in Justice Award for participating in the program since its inception more than five years ago. 

Other banks in Fort Bend and Harris counties that are Prime Partners include Allegiance Bank Texas, Central Bank, Citizens Bank, East West Bank, IBERIABANK, Independence Bank, Southwestern National Bank and Third Coast Bank.

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. More than 70 banks and credit unions in the Prime Partner program 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 approximately 100,000 Texas families each year.

 

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

 

 

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