Statewide Office of Financial Inclusion and Empowerment
Originally proposed in his 2020 State of the State address, Governor Cuomo directed the creation of a Statewide Office of Financial Inclusion and Empowerment (SOFIE) to meet the financial services needs of low- and middle-income New Yorkers across the state.
The state’s first office focused on community wealth-building, SOFIE will strengthen the mission of the Department to protect and empower all New York consumers and move DFS’ priority of economic justice forward.
SOFIE will work with stakeholders across the state to identify and develop strategies to increase household and community wealth, particularly for historically underserved populations, and to help connect consumers with local services. It will coordinate existing work and initiatives across the state with community partners to develop and incubate novel ideas and approaches to economic empowerment and justice, and be a source of New York-related data analysis and research.
The new office will:
- Maintain a centralized list of financial services counseling providers - across housing, student loan, debt and general financial literacy - throughout the State.
- Coordinate state and local services aimed at expanding access to credit and opportunities for wealth building.
- Incubate new programs to expand access to safe and affordable banking services, credit and financial education; coordinate public-private partnerships.
- Foster provision of high-quality, low-cost financial products statewide.
Tremaine Wright has been appointed as the first Director of DFS’ Statewide Office of Financial Inclusion and Empowerment (SOFIE).
Tremaine previously represented the 56th District of the New York State Assembly and was Chair of New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus, as well as Chair of the Assembly Subcommittee on Foster Care. Prior to her election to the New York State Assembly, Tremaine practiced law at Brooklyn Legal Services and private law firms, served as a pro bono lawyer for the Volunteers of Legal Services’ Incarcerated Mothers Project, and volunteered with the City Bar Association’s Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project. She holds a J.D. from University of Chicago Law School, and a B.A. from Duke University.
“Lack of access to affordable banking products have traditionally led to exclusion and predatory lending within low-income communities and communities of color, said Former Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright. “I look forward to joining the DFS team and supplementing their ongoing work with advocates and everyday New Yorkers to advance DFS' economic justice initiatives designed to identify and remove barriers to accessing financial services.”