Employment and Jobs

Justine Zinkin, Job Quality Fellow

April 15, 2020  • Economic Opportunities Program

Justine Zinkin

CEO, Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners

Across the nation, over 40% of households – nearly 51 million according to United Way’s analysis – cannot afford basic expenses such as housing, transportation, food, and child care. When individuals face needed car repairs, a doctor’s visit, or insufficient hours at work, many turn to high-interest lending options such as payday loans, which can heighten financial pressures.

Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners delivers financial coaching services and products to help individuals reduce debt and grow their savings, with the goal of supporting low-income individuals to participate in the US financial system and to achieve their financial goals.

“We’ve dedicated ourselves to addressing the growing reality that having a job no longer equates to financial security or even stability,” says CEO Justine Zinkin. “Each year, we serve thousands of workers holding jobs that are low-wage, hourly, and with unpredictable schedules leading to volatile incomes – a subset of the 42% of Americans who make less than $15 per hour.”

Zinkin and her staff primarily serve workers through TrustPlus, a financial wellness benefit it provides to 100+ employers across the country. TrustPlus blends financial coaching with access to digital tools and relevant financial products that address financial challenges in four areas: money management and budgeting; credit and debt; banking; and saving. Employees sign up online for phone or video sessions with their financial coach and during their first meeting develop a plan to meet their financial goals. TrustPlus then harnesses behavioral theory to send employees reminders and nudges via SMS to stay on track with their plan.

TrustPlus Program Impact

“At Neighborhood Trust, our success hinges on our ability to deliver concurrent impact to both workers and employers,” says Zinkin. “We provide value to employers. Our results reveal that investment in financial wellness at work pays dividends for the employer across a range of indicators.”

To demonstrate the impact of its TrustPlus service, Neighborhood Trust collects metrics through its online platform and employee surveys. For instance, employer partners receive monthly reports tracking engagement of employees with TrustPlus, including the number of appointments scheduled and completed.

Employee surveys demonstrate TrustPlus’s impact on workplace stability and productivity. Seventy-five percent of employees who use the service report that finances are less of a distraction at work, and 77% report that the financial stress they experience has decreased. The data also illustrate impacts on employees’ perceptions of their employers: 90% of employees report that by offering the service, they believe their employer cares about their wellbeing.

Since launching TrustPlus in 2015, Neighborhood Trust has served over 4,000 employees, reducing a cumulative $2 million in consumer debt and $650,000 in collections. Sixty-five percent of clients with subprime credit improve their credit profile, qualifying them for low-cost financial services and improved housing.

Zinkin recognizes that financial wellness is one building block of worker wellbeing and aims to leverage data gathered through TrustPlus to encourage employer partners to improve job quality across a range of factors, including wages, benefits, and predictable scheduling.

“We’re situated to make the case that it’s good business and wise policy to invest in workers as assets,” says Zinkin. “We’re gathering very powerful data about the financial distress of workers and sharing this back with employers. We’re demonstrating there’s immense value to their bottom line when employers invest in improved policies and practices.”


Financial wellness is a building block of worker wellbeing. Under the leadership of Aspen #JobQuality Fellow Justine Zinkin, @NTFP_Official offers its services as a workplace benefit to help people achieve their financial goals.

Millions of working families cannot afford basic expenses like housing, transportation, food, and child care. @NTFP_Official, led by Aspen #JobQuality Fellow Justine Zinkin, helps people reduce their debt and grow their savings.

“Workers really are an employer’s greatest asset and there’s great business value in improving their financial wellbeing.” -Aspen #JobQuality Fellow Justine Zinkin @NTFP_Official

“Today millions of Americans hold jobs that are not quality jobs, and you see the adverse impact on individuals and families and communities as a result.” -Aspen #JobQuality Fellow Justine Zinkin @NTFP_Official

Our economy needs more quality jobs. Learn how leaders like Aspen #JobQuality Fellow Justine Zinkin of @NTFP_Official are innovating to boost opportunity in communities across the country.

Learn more

Justine Zinkin is a member of the Job Quality Fellowship, Class of 2018-19. The Job Quality Fellowship is a project of the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program.

The Economic Opportunities Program advances strategies, policies, and ideas to help low- and moderate-income people thrive in a changing economy. Follow us on social media and join our mailing list to stay up-to-date on our work, including publications, events, blog posts, and more.

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