A salute to ambassadors for financial empowerment


 Related links

BBVA Compass' Carla Tessman: An ambassador for financial empowerment (video)  

• Financial Literacy Month info from the Council for Economic Education

April 11, 2016

BBVA Compass would like to salute those who take time out this month to promote healthy money habits as part of Financial Literacy Month.

The bank’s own Carla Tessman is one of those. She teaches financial education classes at Houston’s Harris County Jail that prepare female inmates for a future beyond bars.

“These women have made a mistake in their lives, but they have the opportunity to change,” Tessman said. “I tell them my own story. I’m a single mother of an 11-year-old girl. I’ve had financial problems, too. I tell them: No matter how successful you think I am, it’s not about that. It’s just the way you face life and issues.”

Tessman is a volunteer financial instructor with The Women’s Resource of Greater Houston. She teaches personal finance classes to women within the Mentoring Moms program, a reentry program at the jail that connects pregnant women with services on the outside upon their release. The Women’s Resource relies on the help of volunteers and partnerships with organizations like BBVA Compass to accomplish its mission of helping women become independent, productive and financially stable.

In 2015, around 5,000 BBVA Compass volunteers’ efforts were linked to financial literacy outreach, and they helped more than 126,000 people. Other initiatives with financial literacy components include the bank’s Week of Service and the BBVA Compass Future Builders ProgramThe bank is relaunching its financial education program in the second quarter of 2016 with new digital and classroom curriculum focused on adults, especially to support potential homebuyers and entrepreneurs.

In Tessman's case, she says she’s grateful for the opportunity to give back.

“I’m just giving back to the society a part of what I receive,” she said. “And, for me, it’s an honor having the opportunity.”