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Urban Resource Institute, BBVA Team Up to Help Survivors of Domestic Violence Overcome Economic Abuse

Ribbon-cutting celebration marks the opening of a new computer lab to promote financial literacy and self-sufficiency for domestic violence survivors

BBVA New York donated 100 computers to URI for the computer lab, while the BBVA Compass Foundation donated $20,000

NEW YORK, July 8, 2014 — Urban Resource Institute (URI) and BBVA celebrated the opening today of a new computer lab at one of URI’s busiest domestic violence shelters, with the global financial services firm supporting URI’s pioneering effort to eradicate economic abuse, which affects 98 percent of domestic violence survivors.

BBVA New York donated 100 computers to the lab while the BBVA Compass Foundation, the charitable arm of BBVA’s U.S. franchise, gave a $20,000 gift. Both donations were announced today during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the lab, which is designed to be a safe and motivational space for survivors to gain job-training skills and other resources to establish their financial security.

“We’re in the business of building a better future for people — and there are few things more rewarding than lending your expertise and your resources to truly empower people,” said BBVA Compass Director of Corporate Responsibility and Reputation Reymundo Ocañas. “URI’s approach to combating domestic violence spoke to us and our spirit as innovators. It opened the first shelter in New York where victims could bring their pets, for instance, a very meaningful thing for people whose lives have been turned upside down. We knew we had something to contribute to URI’s holistic approach to the problem, and that’s the ability to zero in on the issue of economic abuse.”

Pictured from left to right: Whittaker Mack, URI; Dr. Lisa Ross, URI; Marie Philip, Office of Domestic Violence at NYC Human Resources Administration; Nathaniel Fields, URI; Reymundo Ocañas, BBVA Compass; Sally Toro, BBVA; Paloma Tejada, BBVA; Ricardo Laiseca, BBVA; Bernadette Smith, URI
Pictured from left to right: Whittaker Mack, URI; Dr. Lisa Ross, URI; Marie Philip, Office of Domestic Violence at NYC Human Resources Administration; Nathaniel Fields, URI; Reymundo Ocañas, BBVA Compass; Sally Toro, BBVA; Paloma Tejada, BBVA; Ricardo Laiseca, BBVA; Bernadette Smith, URI

BBVA Compass, through its partnership with leading education technology firm EverFi, also will bring the Web-based financial literacy program for adults, EverFi@Work, to URI.

“For many domestic violence victims, the damage wrought by economic abuse — which can result in ruined credit scores, identity or property theft, legal issues and erratic employment histories — can be overwhelming,” said Nathaniel Fields, president and CEO of URI. “We are grateful for BBVA’s collaboration in bringing attention to this often unaddressed and underreported issue, and hope to help our residents on their paths to establishing financially secure, independent and safe futures.”

Victims of abuse frequently face a double-edged sword — stay in, or return, to domestic violence situations, or leave and risk facing crippling financial insecurity. Seven out of eight women who go back to their abusers say they return because of financial pressures they face as a result of economic abuse.

“I experienced harassment from the abuser so many times at work that I lost my job and also lost my ability to be independent,” said one survivor who’s now participating in URI’s innovative Working Internship Network program, where shelter residents shadow URI employees through an eight-week internship. “Seeking shelter from domestic violence meant leaving everything behind. As I rebuild my life at URI, I realize now more than ever the importance of understanding my finances and gaining job skills that will help me get back on my feet.”

For tips on helping victims of economic abuse protect themselves, their families and their financial futures, please visit http:/nyc.org/domestic-violence/about-abuse/#economic.

About BBVA Group
BBVA Compass is a subsidiary of BBVA Compass Bancshares Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of BBVA (NYSE: BBVA) (MAD: BBVA). BBVA is a customer-centric global financial services group founded in 1857. The Group has a solid position in Spain, is the largest financial institution in Mexico and has leading franchises in South America and the Sunbelt region of the United States. Its diversified business is geared toward high-growth markets and relies on technology as a key sustainable competitive advantage. Corporate responsibility is at the core of its business model. BBVA fosters financial education and inclusion, and supports scientific research and culture. It operates with the highest integrity, a long-term vision and applies the best practices. The Group is present in the main sustainability indexes. More information about the BBVA Group can be found at www.bbva.com.

About BBVA Compass
BBVA Compass is a Sunbelt-based financial institution that operates 684 branches, including 352 in Texas, 89 in Alabama, 78 in Arizona, 62 in California, 45 in Florida, 38 in Colorado and 20 in New Mexico. BBVA Compass ranks among the top 25 largest U.S. commercial banks based on deposit market share and ranks among the largest banks in Alabama (2nd), Texas (4th) and Arizona (5th). BBVA Compass has been recognized as one of the leading small business lenders by the Small Business Administration and was recently awarded the 2013 Celent Model Bank Award for its new core banking platform. Additional information about BBVA Compass can be found at www.bbvacompass.com, by following @BBVACompassNews on Twitter or visiting newsroom.bbvacompass.com.

Editor’s Note: BBVA Compass is a trade name of Compass Bank, Member FDIC.

About Urban Resource Institute
Urban Resource Institute (URI) is a leading non-profit organization that provides comprehensive, holistic, and supportive human services programs that help individuals and families in the New York metropolitan area overcome obstacles and better their lives. With a rich 34-year legacy of social service research and expertise, deep community relationships, and a flexible, innovative approach to program development and service delivery, URI is uniquely equipped to provide solutions to the challenges affecting New York’s most vulnerable populations. URI’s hands-on programs for victims of domestic violence, the developmentally disabled, and people struggling with addiction and substance abuse are specifically tailored to meet the needs of the individual, while advocacy and community outreach initiatives build wider visibility and support for the issues that have an impact on our clients’ quality of life and New York’s urban communities. For more information, please visit www.urinyc.org.