Keep Watch! Social Media Scams Affect the Military

LinkedIn
man in military uniform holding a smartphone with a scam alert image on it

By Katie Lange

Nowadays, you have to be cautious of everything you do online. Scammers are always trying to get money, goods or services out of unsuspecting people—and military members are often targets.

Here are some scams that have recently been affecting service members, Defense Department employees and their families.

Romance Scams

In April, Army Criminal Investigation Command put out a warning about romance scams in which online predators go on dating sites claiming to be deployed active-duty soldiers. It’s a problem that’s affecting all branches of service—not just the Army.

CID said there have been hundreds of claims each month from people who said they’ve been scammed on legitimate dating apps and social media sites. According to the alleged victims, the scammers have asked for money for fake service-related needs, such as transportation, communications fees, processing and medical fees—even marriage. CID said many of the victims have lost tens of thousands of dollars and likely won’t get that money back.

Remember: Service members and government employees DO NOT PAY to go on leave, have their personal effects sent home, or fly back to the United States from an overseas assignment. Scammers will sometimes provide false paperwork to make their case, but real service members make their own requests for time off. Also, any official military or government emails will end in .mil or .gov—not .com—so be suspicious if you get a message claiming to be from the military or government that doesn’t have one of those addresses.

If you’re worried about being scammed, know what red flags to look for. If you think you’ve been a victim, contact the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center and the Federal Trade Commission.

DOD officials said task forces are working to deal with the growing problem, but the scammers are often from African nations and are using cyber cafes with untraceable email addresses, then routing their accounts across the world to make them incredibly difficult to trace. So be vigilant!

‘Sextortion’

Sexual extortion—known as “sextortion”—is when a service member is seduced into sexual activities online that are unknowingly recorded and used against them for money or goods. Often, if a victim caves on a demand, the scammer will just likely demand more.

Service members are attractive targets for these scammers for a few reasons:

  • They’re often young men who are away from home and have an online presence.
  • They have a steady income and are often more financially stable than civilians.
  • Because of their careers, they’re held to a higher standard of conduct.
  • Military members have security clearances and know things that might be of interest to adversaries.

To avoid falling victim to sextortion, don’t post or exchange compromising photos or videos with ANYONE online, and make sure your social media privacy settings limit the information outsiders can see—this includes advertising your affiliation with the military or government. Be careful when you’re communicating with anyone you don’t personally know online, and trust your instincts. If people seem suspicious, stop communicating with them.

DOD officials said sextortion often goes unreported because many victims are embarrassed they fell for it. But it happens worldwide and across all ranks and services. Here’s what you should do about it if it happens to you:

  • Stop communicating with the scammer.
  • Contact your command and your local CID office.
  • Do NOT pay the perpetrator.
  • Save all communications you had with that person.

Service Member Impersonation Scams

Scammers love to impersonate people of authority, and that includes service members.

These people often steal the identity or profile images of a service member and use them to ask for money or make claims that involve the sale of vehicles, house rentals or other big-ticket items. These scammers often send the victim bogus information about the advertised product and ask for a wire transfer through a third party to finish the purchase, but there’s no product at the end of the transaction.

Lately, fake profiles of high-ranking American military officials have been popping up on social media websites using photos and biographical information obtained from the internet. Scammers often replicate recent social media posts from official DOD accounts and interact with official accounts to increase the appearance of legitimacy. As an example, there are impersonator accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. These accounts are also interacting with Joint Staff account followers in an effort to gain trust and elicit information. The only Joint Staff leader with an official social media presence is Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman Army Command Sgt. Maj. John Wayne Troxell, who is listed as @SEAC.JCS on Facebook and @SEAC_Troxell on Twitter.

Scammers are making these profiles to defraud potential victims. They claim to be high-ranking or well-placed government/military officials or the surviving spouse of former government leaders, then they promise big profits in exchange for help in moving large sums of money, oil or some other commodity. They offer to transfer significant amounts of money into the victim’s bank account in exchange for a small fee. Scammers that receive payment are never heard from again.

Here are some ways to lower the chances of you being impersonated or duped by a scammer:

To avoid having your personal data and photos stolen from your social media pages, limit the details you provide on them and don’t post photos that include your name tag, unit patch and rank.

If an alleged official messages you with a request or demand, look closely at his or her social media page. Often, official accounts will be verified, meaning they have a blue circle with a checkmark right beside their Twitter, Facebook or Instagram name. General and flag officers will not message anyone directly requesting to connect or asking for money.

Search for yourself online—both your name and images you’ve posted—to see if someone else is trying to use your identity. If you do find a false profile, contact that social media platform and report it.

Source: defense.gov

Empowering Veteran Business Owners For Nearly 150 Years

LinkedIn
Alex McKindra pictured with father and grandfather

The McKindra family believes in two things: service and community. That’s what led Commercial Banking Managing Director, Alex McKindra to West Point, the Air Force, and now JPMorgan Chase. Here’s how he honors his family legacy by helping to empower veteran business owners.

From his years of service in the military to his current role as a Managing Director at JPMorgan Chase—where he helps former soldiers build their own businesses—Alex McKindra Jr. is a veteran success story.

And his story has a long history, tracing back through generations of his family in the small town of Union Chapel, Arkansas.

Generations of Mentorship

In the late 1800s, McKindra’s great-great grandfather, Reuben Frank McKindra, moved his family to Union Chapel, a town originally settled by freed Black slaves.

Working on their family farm, the McKindras made a name for themselves by demonstrating their resourcefulness and aptitude for hard work. Namely, the family utilized mentorship programs, as well as public and private funding, to not only start but grow—and grow—their family farm.

Amid the success of the family business, the McKindras never lost sight of the support they had been given—and the importance of passing it on to others in their community and society. Generations of McKindras have dedicated their lives to the military and, subsequently, to their communities when they returned home.

“I would not be in the position I am today if not for the opportunities that mentorship provided,” says McKindra. “The farm my family was able to start, through the support and mentorship of others, has helped to educate and put clothes on every generation of my family since the 1880s.”

Paying It Forward

McKindra chose to honor his roots by following in his ancestors’ footsteps and joining the military. He graduated from West Point in 1993 and then completed a tour of duty serving as Captain in the United States Air Force.

Armed with the life experience and knowledge he gained from the service—and a freshly-minted MBA from the University of Southern California—McKindra dove into the world of corporate finance. Quickly building a reputation for his intelligence, reliability and kindness, he rose through the ranks. Today, he works as a Managing Director for JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking.

Amid his own success, McKindra’s also wanted to help those who—like his great-great-grandfather Reuben—had risked their lives for the country and were now seeking to put down roots as civilians.

At JPMorgan Chase, he continued to advocate for veterans, ultimately becoming co-lead of JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking’s veteran initiatives program, alongside Army veteran Terry Hill.

Currently, McKindra and Hill are working with JPMorgan Chase and Bunker Labs, a national nonprofit, to build programs to help veteran small business owners. Together, they created CEOcircle, a 13-month mentorship program that is tailored to help mid-size, military-connected companies grow. Through this program, veteran business owners and their families gain access to the guidance and resources they need to succeed, including education, networking, and one-on-one financial mentoring from JPMorgan Chase advisors. The program empowers businesses that will support military families for generations to come—businesses like the McKindra farm.

The new program launched nationally last year and will welcome its second cohort of 80 military-connected businesses this November.

“If my great-great-grandfather were here today, I would want him to know that what he built didn’t just support our family, it also instilled the values in us that would seed the acceleration and growth of hundreds of other veteran-owned businesses in the future,” McKindra says. “I know he’d be proud of that.”

In the past decade, over 16,000 veterans and service members have transitioned their military skills into civilian careers at JPMorgan Chase. Through our programs and initiatives, our goal is to position military members, veterans and their families to thrive in their post-service lives. Learn More.

What to Consider Before Moving Post-Military

LinkedIn
Close up of male hand packing property in cardboard box with spouse in the background

The day will come when you’re preparing to transition out of the military. You might have spent time thinking about where you want to live when this day arrives. As you decide where to live after your military separation, it’s helpful to consider:

  • Your family’s wishes
  • Career opportunities
  • Education
  • Cost of living

Talk with your family

The decision about your next home will affect the entire family, so include them in every step of the process. Here are some things you might want to think about:

  • Career and educational opportunities— Do you want to start a new career? Does your spouse want to continue their career or start a new one? What about the kids? Where are the best schools? Base your decisions on what will be good for the whole family.
  • Extended family— How close do you want to be to your extended family — “See you tomorrow” close, or “See you on holidays” close? Take a careful look at your hometown and evaluate the job market, schools and cost of living.
  • Career goals— The Department of Defense’s mandatory Transition Assistance Program will help you prepare for life after active duty. Whether you plan to pursue a civilian job, continue your education or join the Reserves, the Transition Assistance Program will help you develop a plan and make sure you are ready to pursue your goals. In addition, the Military Spouse Transition Program provides guidance to help spouses transition to civilian life, including starting or continuing a career

Consider your options

Make a list and prioritize what is most important to you, like job opportunities, schools, climate or cost of living. Then, do your research to find the best match.

The following can help you make the military-to-civilian transition a little easier:

  • Take advantage of resources like the CareerOneStop Veteran and Military Transition Center, sponsored by the Department of Labor. The Veteran and Military Transition Center website allows you to access free interest and skills assessments, explore civilian careers and education options, search for jobs, learn about benefits and much more.
  • Search websites — Many websites can help you find the best places to live by letting you order the importance of categories like education, crime rates, climate and housing costs. You can narrow your search by preferences or compare your favorite cities.
  • Find local information — Eligible users can search for local community information on the MilitaryINSTALLATIONS website. On the home page, after the words “I’m looking for a …” choose the option “State resources.” Then click on the words “VIEW ALL STATE RESOURCES” located under the magnifying glass. This brings up a list of all 50 states. Click on any state, then look for the box titled “Local Community Information.” Click on the link for eligible users. You will need to enter your Military OneSource user identification and password to access the tool.
  • Identify unique, personal preferences — Some preferences can’t be factored into a test or a website. You may want to live close to a military installation so you and your family can take advantage of military benefits. Or you may want to move near a particular reserve unit where you can train in a specialized area.
  • Weigh your options — Write down the available choices and assess the pros and cons of each. Use your list to help you look objectively at options.
  • Prepare for mixed emotions — Be prepared for different kinds of feelings as you transition from active duty. It’s normal to be nervous about big life changes like this. No decision is 100 percent guaranteed, but the better you prepare, the more likely you are to set up yourself and your family for success.

Access military support

Your relocation benefits include one final move from your last duty station within the time and geographic limits listed below. If you live in installation housing, you may be allowed one move out of housing into the local community and another final move within these limits. Check with your installation transportation office for details on benefits specific to your final move.

  • Retirement — You may be moved anywhere within the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) or to your home of record outside the United States within one year of your retirement date. (This is called a home of selection.)
  • Involuntary separation (honorable discharge)— You may be moved anywhere within the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) or to your home of record outside the United States within one year of your separation date.
  • Voluntary separation (honorable discharge)— You may be moved to your home of record (or an equal or lesser distance) within 180 days of your separation date. If you choose a destination of greater distance, you will be obligated to pay the additional costs.
  • General discharge (under honorable conditions)— You may be moved to your home of record (or an equal or lesser distance) within 180 days of your separation.

Once you have made your decision, contact your installation transportation office about scheduling your move. The earlier you start to plan, the more likely you are to get the move dates you want.

Source: MilitaryOneSource

Utilizing your COOL Benefits

LinkedIn
Young couple looking at family finance papers

Created by the Department of Defense, Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL) is the result of extensive inter-service collaboration to facilitate credentialing of service members.

All services recognize the important role that occupational credentials can play in professionalizing the force and in enhancing the service member’s ability to transition to the civilian workforce upon completion of military service. The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard each have their own service-specific COOL programs designed to match military occupations to civilian credentials (occupational certifications, licenses and apprenticeships) and provide resources to help Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen attain these credentials. The services disseminate this information on their own COOL websites.

What does COOL help me do?

DOD COOL contains resources and information on credentialing and the military for decision makers, leaders, agencies and other interested parties. It is intended as a workforce professionalization tool for active duty, reserve and civilian personnel to understand what their military training could translate to in the workforce and the professional development opportunities available in their career field. COOL is also a main hub for credentialing agencies and resources to help new veterans have a smooth transition into the civilian workforce.

The branch-specific COOL sites contain a variety of service-specific information about certifications and licenses related to military occupations. Use the branch-specific COOL sites to:

  • Get background information about civilian licensure and certification in general and specific information on individual credentials, including eligibility and testing requirements and resources to prepare for an exam.
  • Identify licenses and certifications relevant to individual military occupations.
  • Learn how to fill gaps between military training and experience and civilian credentialing requirements.
  • Learn about resources available to service members that can help them gain civilian job credentials.

Depending on qualifications and specifics, COOL can also fully cover the costs associated with certain credentials needed for your civilian career.

That being said, COOL is not a credentialing agency or testing center in and of itself. Service members do not get credentials from COOL or take tests or purchase training materials through COOL. It also doesn’t create credentialing standards, nor is it reserved exclusively for veterans, being used primarily by service members.

What does my branch COOL website provide?

For ease of use, the COOL sites are all organized in the same way. The key differences among the sites are the personnel categories covered and the scope of credentials paid for by the respective service. The following highlights the similarities and differences:

    Army

    Enlisted members:

  • Credential information, including Promotion Points, Skill Level and Star credentials
  • Credential payment for all credentials listed on Army COOL
    Warrant Officer:

  • Credential information
  • Credential payment for all credentials listed
    Officer:

  • Credential information for select Advanced Operations Courses
  • Credential payment for all credentials listed on Army COOL
    Navy

    Enlisted members:

  • Credential information
  • Credential payment for all credentials directly related to the rating or to an embedded skill set
    Officer:

  • Credential information, including Cybersecurity Workforce (CSWF)
  • Credential payment for certain mandatory credentials
    DOD civilians:

  • Credential information, including Cybersecurity Workforce (CSWF)
  • Credential payment for certain mandatory credentials
    Air Force

    Enlisted members:

  • Credential information
  • Credential payment for all credentials directly related to the rating or to an embedded skill set
    Marine Corps

    Enlisted members:

  • Credential information
  • Credential payment for all credentials directly related to the rating or to an embedded skill set
    DOD civilians:

  • Limited credential information, for Cybersecurity Workforce (CSWF)
  • Credential information for select federal occupational series with more to be added on an ongoing basis
    Coast Guard

    Enlisted members:

  • Credential information
  • Credential payment for all credentials directly related to the rating or to an embedded skill set
    DOD Civilian

    Enlisted members:

  • Credential information

To learn more about COOL and your branch specific website, visit cool.osd.mil.

Source: DOD COOL

Taking the Initial Steps to Certification

LinkedIn
Successful businessman clarifying provisions of contract with business partner, discussing terms of agreement, explaining strategy or financial plan

By Natalie Rodgers

If you’re a business owner, then you may already be aware of the basics of Veteran-Owned (VOBE) and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned (SDVOBE) business certifications. But going through the process to actually obtain the certification can be daunting, especially when considering the paperwork and fees that often go into the process. However, even if your business is thriving by your standards, earning your certification can take your business to new heights. Some of the benefits that certification can bring to your business include:

Funding Opportunities

Money is helpful no matter what kind of business you run, and certification opens the doors to funding opportunities that other businesses can’t access. Every year the government puts aside 23 percent of all of their contracts for small businesses, with 3 percent of that total going specifically towards VOBE and SDVOBE businesses. However, to be eligible to compete for these funds, you have to be a VOBE or SDVOBE certified business. Depending on the network you use to earn your certification, you may also become eligible for other funding opportunities through your certifier.

Corporate Partnerships

Businesses work with other companies all the time, but what a lot of people don’t know is that big name, Fortune 500 companies are often looking to work with minority, women and veteran-owned businesses to increase their supplier diversity efforts. To find these small businesses, these companies go directly to small business certifiers like NAVOBA, the SBA and the VA. When you become VOBE or SDVOBE certified, you will be given access to networking opportunities that could gain you a deal with some of the biggest businesses in the country. These kinds of partnerships can lead to an increase of sales and publicity. Some of the top corporations who have dedicated their efforts to work with veteran-owned businesses include USAA, JPMorgan, FedEx, Lowe’s, T-Mobile, Hilton, Ford and many more.

Resources Galore

Even if you aren’t looking for government funding or corporate partnerships, certification can still benefit your business in tremendous ways. By becoming certified, you gain access to courses, classes, conferences and networking opportunities that can help you grow your business in every aspect. Through whichever certifier you choose, you can learn the best methods of filing your business taxes, handling payroll, marketing your brands, working with social media and so much more.

Veteran Connections

Being certified not only allows you to connect with big-name companies but to other veteran-owned businesses and the customers that support them. When you become certified, you have the perfect platform for connecting with other veterans on their entrepreneurial journey. This can lead to potential business partnerships, mentoring opportunities or even just friendships with other veterans.

So How Do I Get Started?

If the benefits of becoming certified are enticing, but you’re feeling overwhelmed by what may be required of you, remember that you are not alone. If hundreds of veteran-owned businesses across the country can become certified, then you can too. To simplify the process, start with our preparation guide.

  1. Choose the certification that’s right for you. This will depend on your business and your needs.

For those interested in federal contracts, try:

  • The Department of Veterans Affairs: vetbiz.va.gov/vip

For those interested in private contracts, try:

  • National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA): apps.adaptone.com/navoba
  • National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC): nvbdc.org/certification-landing-page
  1. Gather your documents. The kinds of documents you need will depend on your specific program, but just about any certifier you choose will need the following:
  • Government issued ID
  • Your resume
  • Past tax returns
  • Articles of organization or incorporation
  • Operating agreement
  • Your DD214
  • Payroll information
  • VA Disability Documentation (SDVOSB certification)
  1. Utilize your certifying organization’s contacts. If you run into any trouble during the application process or just need clarity on what to do next, feel free to reach out to your organization via the email or telephone number provided on their website. They are willing to assist and want to help you get your certification.

 

Sources: NaVOBA, US Chamber, Fulton Bank, Veteran Owned Business Round Table, Indeed

Black Wealth Transfer and Confronting the Racial Wealth Gap

LinkedIn
Black mature businessman working on laptop

The second installment of Bloomberg’s Power of Difference series on Black wealth offered a deep dive into issues that impact intergenerational Black wealth transfer. The three part series, hosted by Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, seeks to highlight and encourage dialogue about the structures that aid in Black wealth accumulation and extraction.

Speakers discussed why wealth transfer remains pivotal to building wealth in the United States and explained how the historical lack of opportunity for Black families to preserve and pass on wealth has contributed to the prevalence of racial wealth inequality today.

 

Inherited wealth plays a pivotal role in advancing the economic launch point for future generations. Despite the pervasiveness of the American rags to riches story, the wealthiest families have certainly benefited from this capital infusion power–about 30% of the Forbes 400 inherited at least $50 million. Middle and working-class families can use transferred capital and assets to boost emergency savings, make down payments on homes, pay tuition for private schools and higher education, and invest in the financial markets or new entrepreneurship.

Black families, however, are five times less likely than white families to receive a sizable inheritance. When they do, the amount is still typically three times lower on average than what white families receive. This disparity has contributed to Black Americans falling behind in wealth accumulation while white generational peers are empowered to move towards further economic stability and advancement. Black families have certainly been capable of growing assets even in the shadow of Jim Crow and other forms of systemic racism that persist to this day. So why haven’t they been able to hold on to this wealth and pass it to their heirs?

Before the Race Massacre of 1921, the Greenwood district in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was a vibrant, thriving community of Black residents, like many of the “Freedmen’s Towns, and “Freedom Colonies established after the Civil War. Families there owned land, operated businesses, and ran community-sustaining institutions to create property wealth with an estimated value of over $200 million in today’s dollars, earning Greenwood the moniker “Black Wall Street.” When the Greenwood neighborhood was burned to ashes during a violent racial attack, hundreds of residents lost their lives and businesses, thousands of survivors were left homeless and impoverished, and many of them were hunted down, executed, or imprisoned. Laws were passed by the city of Tulsa to impede the rebuilding of Greenwood by survivors and their families. The most disheartening part of Greenwood’s story: this was not an uncommon occurrence.

In Chicago alone, approximately 1,000 Black homes and businesses were burned down during the Red Summer of 1919, a season of racism-fueled on Black communities across the nation. The segregation and violence of Jim Crow, in particular, have been theorized to have had a pervasive impact, stifling Black innovation and entrepreneurship with the threat of violent reprisal for Black wealth building.

In the latest Power of Difference event, speakers discussed how racially driven violence toward Black people like in Tulsa, Chicago, and elsewhere — particularly during the several decades following the abolishment of slavery — was used to rob Black people, destroy their property and intimidate them from building wealth. Government policies, local and federal, often neglected to protect Black communities from this ongoing threat, and instead have codified many racially discriminatory policies such as redlining, government seizures under eminent domain, and disenfranchisement. In turn, such practices have systematically destroyed and eroded the value of Black wealth since the Reconstruction era, with the effects felt to this day.

Pathways to recovery and resilience

Despite economic impediments and discriminatory policies, strategic options and vehicles for securing assets can help more Black families strengthen the economic mobility of future generations. Session speakers painted a detailed picture of how to address these systemic injustices: loopholes in state property inheritance laws can be closed; discriminatory institutional practices and local ordinances, such as those that might assign more value to land according to who owns it, can be revoked; and concentrations of wealth in Black communities, like those created in Greenwood can be systematically encouraged through initiatives that can start at the individual level.

Sean Anderson, a curator from The Museum of Modern Art, discussed the Reconstructions, Architecture, and Blackness in America exhibition he created with scholar and architect Mabel Wilson and 11 Black architects, designers and artists. Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the project aims to encourage reflection on how Black communities strive to build and rebuild in the face of economic and social challenges, and “…how history can be made visible and equity can be built”. The exhibition sparks questions about topics such as “What might our nation look like today if all-Black towns of the past had been allowed to thrive?” and “How might Black community spaces be used to prepare for threats imposed by climate change?”

Reggie Lee, Partner and Chief Transformation Officer at The Carlyle Group described the ten-year journey he took to reclaim the family land that his great grandmother, a formerly enslaved person, had purchased during the Reconstruction era. His story serves as a case study for reclaiming and preserving family-owned assets. For example, to keep the newly reclaimed property intact for future generations, using a trust to ensure legacy building.

The panel Q&A delved into reasons for the continued loss of Black assets and different ways better laws, policies, and individual practices could help reverse this trend. Lack of wills and vehicles like trusts, for example, can make family land and other asset claims vulnerable to loopholes in policies, such as heirs property laws (aka ownership in common) or inheritance taxes. However, it is estimated that 70% of Black Americans do not have a will or estate plan.

Click here to read the full article on Bloomberg.

All It Takes Is a Spark: Capital for Veteran-Owned VCs

LinkedIn
Black mature businessman working on laptop

J.P. Morgan Asset Management announced a new initiative within its Project Spark program, aimed at providing capital to venture capital funds managed by emerging alternative managers that have served in the U.S. military.

In collaboration with JPMorgan Chase’s Military and Veteran’s Affairs division, the mission is to use the firm’s capital and network to close the funding gap for underrepresented managers and to strengthen the veteran ecosystem in the alternatives industry.

As part of the new initiative, the firm intends to commit an initial $25 million to five or more funds across a range of sectors and specialties, to be overseen by the Project Spark investment committee, which is comprised of diverse senior executives across J.P. Morgan Asset Management. The investments seek to support firms managing venture capital and other eligible, private funds founded by U.S. military veterans.

To launch this new activity, the firm along with Vets-In-Tech (ViT), gathered prospects at its first VetVC Summit, hosted at its world headquarters, featuring panel discussions, networking sessions and guest speakers, including JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Officer, Jamie Dimon.

“Through Project Spark we have demonstrated our desire to directly impact representation of diverse managers in the alternatives industry and I’m excited to extend this to the veteran VC community,” said Jamie Kramer, Head of J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s Alternatives Solutions Group and the chair of the Project Spark Investment Committee. “Through our investments in funds managed by veteran-owned VC firms, we’re not only providing a capital commitment, but also seeking to create a network between the veteran community and the J.P. Morgan investment ecosystem.”

In 2011, JPMorgan Chase established its Office of Military and Veterans Affairs to promote veteran initiatives by weaving them into the fabric of how it conducts business. Focusing on careers, entrepreneurship and financial health, the firm supports veterans through both business-led initiatives like Project Spark, as well as philanthropic efforts and partnerships with top veteran service organizations around the world.

“This investment is a terrific example of how we are using the resources of our firm to lead the industry in creating access to venture capital for the veteran community,” said Mark Elliott, Global Head, Office of Military and Veterans Affairs, JPMorgan Chase. “When we leverage our partnerships across multiple lines of business and activate our global network, the economic opportunities we can create for the veteran community is so powerful.”

Another example of the firm’s commitment to veterans includes CEOcircle. In 2021, JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking launched the year-long program for growth-stage businesses in partnership with Bunker Labs, a national nonprofit built by military veteran entrepreneurs with the mission of empowering other military veterans to become leaders in entrepreneurship and innovation. The program provides entrepreneurs with three key resources needed to help grow their businesses: targeted educational programming, peer-to-peer networking via monthly group meetings and financial expertise gleaned from a 10-week mentorship with JPMorgan Chase advisors.

For the 2021-2022 program, Bunker Labs and JPMorgan Chase worked with 40 businesses with 2021 projected annual revenue ranging from $1.5 to $105 million. The businesses, which averaged $13.9 million in annual revenue, represented a diverse array of industries including healthcare, marketing, data and information technology, staffing and recruitment and restaurants. The program is expected to double in size next year.

Source: JPMorgan Chase

Armed Forces Bank and U.S. Army Working Together to Employ Veterans

LinkedIn
two business people shaking hand during meeting

Armed Forces Bank (AFB), a full-service military bank committed to serving those who serve since 1907, today announces a new partnership with the U.S. Army Partnership for Your Success (PaYS) Program. Working together with PaYS, Armed Forces Bank will guarantee soldiers an interview and possible employment after serving in the Army.

The PaYs program is a strategic partnership between the U.S. Army and a cross section of corporations and public sector agencies. The program provides America’s soldiers with an opportunity to serve their country while they prepare for their futures. PaYS partners promise soldiers five job interviews, job mentoring, and the potential for employment as they return to civilian life.

To celebrate this partnership, Armed Forces Bank will hold a ceremonial signing on Thursday, August 18, at 3 p.m. at the Fort Leavenworth branch (320 Kansas Ave). Members of the media are invited to attend, but advance clearance is required. Key U.S. Army and Armed Forces Bank representatives will be on hand for the ceremony, which will include the singing of the national anthem, remarks by 1st Lieutenant Caleb Plug from the U.S. Army, a plaque presentation, flag salute and refreshments.

U.S. Army Captain Micah Robbins will be signing the Memorandum of Agreement along with Jodi Vickery, EVP and Director of Military Consumer Lending for AFB. U.S. Army General Robert Arter, former Board Member for Armed Forces Bank and retired Commanding General of the Sixth United States Army, will also be in attendance. General Arter’s military awards and decorations are extensive. They include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Cluster), the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal, the Air Medal, and the Purple Heart.

The Fort Leavenworth ceremony location is significant, as it is the oldest active U.S. Army post west of the Mississippi River. Established in 1827, the military base has devoted more than 190 years of service to the nation.

“Our partnership with PaYS is a natural extension of our longstanding commitment to support the distinct needs of military service members and their families,” said Paul Holewinski, President & CEO of Armed Forces Bank. “We’re honored to join forces with the U.S. Army to connect soldiers with the business community, as they return to civilian life.”

Each year in the United States, more than 200,000 service members exit the military, often with uncertainty about transitioning into the civilian workforce and without a defined career path. Soldiers who participate in the PaYS program gain valuable leadership, professional and technical skills, as well as experience and confidence, as they pursue career opportunities. In addition, service members gain access to employment possibilities with organizations that understand the value of their military service. In turn, PaYS provides employers with a pool of highly skilled, motivated and responsible candidates from which they can fill their personnel needs. The PaYS partnership provides a win-win situation for all.

Armed Forces Bank also is proud to work alongside U.S. Army Recruiters, Army National Guard Recruiters and local ROTC programs through PaYS to send the message of staying in school, setting goals, choosing appropriate friendships, leading a values focused life and staying off drugs. Granting employment interviews gives AFB the opportunity to mentor soldiers and newly commissioned officers on resume/interview skills and building better qualifications as they transition to private employment. Often, this will be the soldier’s first experience with interviewing in the private sector.

Armed Forces Bank’s Longstanding Military Commitment

With its headquarters in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Armed Forces Bank has been dedicated to serving military service members and their families for more than 115 years. Approximately 75% of AFB associates have some type of military affiliation either by spouse, retired themselves or their children. AFB, and its sister bank, Academy Bank, currently employ 22 veterans of the armed forces and 57 spouses of active or retired members of the armed forces.

AFB’s dedication to the military includes many leadership initiatives and awards:

  • AFB is a founding partner of the Military Spouse Employment Partnership. MSEP connects military spouses with hundreds of partner-employers committed to recruit, hire, promote and retain military spouses for long-term, portable careers with advancement opportunities.
  • AFB is a leader within the S. Army’s Training with Industry (TWI) program, a yearlong training program with AFB for one Officer and one Non-Commissioned Officer in the Army Finance and Comptroller Corps. The TWI program is designed to take selected officers out of the military environment and expose them to the latest commercial business practices, organizational structures and cultures, technology development processes and corporate management techniques.
  • For each of the last eight years, AFB also has earned the “Military Saves Designation of Savings Excellence” by the Association of Military Banks. The program helps service members and their families save money, reduce debt, and build wealth.
  • AFB was named “Distinguished Bank of the Year” for 10 of the last 11 years by at least one branch of the military. Nominated by the Command Leadership at military installations around the country, the award recognizes AFB’s leadership in serving military service members and their families with a vast array of banking services, installation support and financial education. In 2019 and 2020, the Department of the Army and Navy recognized AFB. In 2021, AFB received 13 nominations from the Army, Navy and Air Force with the award ceremony to be conducted at the end of August 2022.
  • AFB was named the official financial services partner for A Million Thanks, a national organization that collects and distributes letters of support and thanks directly to active duty, reserve and veteran military men and women around the world.

“As a spouse of a 20-year Army veteran, I understand the importance of stepping up and providing service members with an interview and the potential for employment,” said Jodi Vickery, EVP and Director of Military Consumer Lending for AFB. “Transitioning from the military is not easy and our partnership with PaYS is an important way to actively express our gratitude for the many sacrifices military men and women endure.”

Armed Forces Bank offers a variety of exciting career paths in the fast-growing banking and financial services industry. Serving both active and retired military, as well as civilian clients around the world, AFB values former service members as employees. AFB provides a wide variety of training, development and mentorship programs for veterans across the company.

“The best way to honor a service member is to hire one,” adds Tom McLean, SVP and Regional Military Executive for Armed Forces Bank. “We thank our Armed Forces for protecting our freedoms. There’s no place else where people can dream such big dreams and reach their goals. Our business and our country will only improve by employing more military veterans.”

About Armed Forces Bank

Armed Forces Bank (AFB), founded and headquartered in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, is a full-service military bank committed to serving those who serve since 1907. With 23 locations, Armed Forces Bank has more on-installation locations than any military bank in the country. Armed Forces Bank provides affordable, personal and convenient banking and financial services to both active and retired military, as well as civilian clients in all 50 states and around the world. AFB has $1.2 billion in assets and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dickinson Financial Corporation, a $3.5 billion bank holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri. AFB’s sister bank, Academy Bank, is a full-service community bank with over 70 branch locations in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas and Missouri. For more, visit www.afbank.com. Member FDIC.

About the Partnership for Your Success (PaYS) Program

The Partnership for Your Success (PaYS) Program is a strategic partnership between the U.S. Army and a cross section of corporations and public sector agencies. The Program provides America’s soldiers with an opportunity to serve their country while they prepare for their future. For more, visit https://www.armypays.com

Armed Forces Bank Launches “Militarily Speaking” Podcast Series Dedicated to Helping the Military Community Navigate Finances and Military Life

LinkedIn
side view of four Armed Forces service members

Armed Forces Bank (AFB), a full-service military bank committed to serving those who serve since 1907, today announced the launch of its biweekly “Militarily Speaking” podcast series, which is dedicated to helping the military community navigate finances, as well as military life overall.

Militarily Speaking shares stories and offers insights about both good and bad financial practices, as well as strategies to help service members get ahead. The podcast discusses military benefits members should take advantage of to become more financially independent. Topics highlight resources that help service members prepare for important milestones, such as Permanent Changes of Station (PCS) moves and the eventual transition to civilian life.

At the end of each episode, the podcast concludes with its “Military Minute,” a guessing-game segment featuring military history, military facts and pop culture. Correct answers by listeners result in cash prizes, as well as a donation to a charity of the winner’s choice.

“We’re excited to share amazing stories and provide a force for opportunity, security and success for our military community,” said Paul Holewinski, CEO of Armed Forces Bank. “The podcast features inspiring leaders who offer solutions that give our military men and women financial and personal advantages for lifelong success.”

Militarily Speaking is hosted by Tom McLean and Jodi Vickery, two AFB executives with deep experience supporting military banking locations and their service members around the country (click here for bios). Tom and Jodi provide wisdom and wit as they conduct in-depth conversations with thought-leaders on key issues affecting the military community. Guests include:

  • Dan Bozung, author of This Civilian S**t is Hard, a book offering helpful advice on making the transition from a military career to civilian life. Bozung enlisted in the U.S. Navy at age 17, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1997, and then became a naval pilot. He left active duty in 2005 and eventually graduated from Harvard Business School, only to find his transition to civilian life challenging. Bozung persevered and has words of wisdom to impart.
  • Danielle Adams, is a real estate agent for the MilHousing Network, which understands the journey, joys and challenges of moving as a military family. Adams is a military spouse and went through a PCS move during the pandemic.
  • Melanie Aguto, VA loan specialist. VA Loans are a $0-down mortgage option issued by private lenders and partially backed, or guaranteed, by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Eligible borrowers can use a VA loan to purchase a property as their primary residence or refinance an existing mortgage. Aguto is a VA loans specialist with over 27 years of experience.
  • Shauna Fleming is founder of A Million Thanks, a national nonprofit organization that collects and distributes letters of support and thanks directly to active duty, reserve and veteran military men and women. The organization also provides higher education scholarships to their children. Fleming founded A Million Thanks in 2004 when she was 15 years old.
  • Tim Ney is executive director of the Armed Services YMCA, which provides innovative, interactive programs and services designed especially for junior-enlisted service members, their spouses and their children—all who sacrifice so much for us and our country. Ney is a retired, decorated Marine who has dedicated his life to serving others.
  • Kim McCallister-Young is co-director of Military Saves, which seeks to motivate, support, and encourage the entire military community to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. McCallister-Young is a proud Air Force veteran and active-duty Army wife.

“Our podcast guests offer insights and ingenuity to service members providing them with resources to adapt to life changing situations and emerge even stronger than before,” said Tom McLean, SVP and Regional Military Executive for Armed Forces Bank.

Militarily Speaking is available on popular podcast platforms, including Audible, Spotify, Amazon Music and Blubrry, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts. The podcast lasts 25 to 30 minutes and airs live every other week on Wednesday evenings, with the first podcast having aired on April 6. Recordings of the podcast are posted and may be listened to at no cost. Episodes are also available on Armed Forces Bank’s website (www.afbank.com/media/category/podcast), which includes a summary of each episode.

Armed Forces Bank’s Long-Standing Military Commitment

With its headquarters in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, AFB has been dedicated to serving military service members and their families for more than 110 years. Approximately 75% of AFB Associates have some type of military affiliation either by spouse, retired themselves or their children.

“At Armed Forces Bank, we celebrate the contributions and sacrifices made by military families. As the spouse of a 20-year Army veteran, that hits home,” said Jodi Vickery, EVP and Director of Military Consumer Lending for Armed Forces Bank. “Our podcast gives us another important way to actively express our support and gratitude for the many sacrifices military men and women endure.”

About Armed Forces Bank

Armed Forces Bank (AFB), founded and headquartered in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, is a full-service military bank committed to serving those who serve since 1907. With 23 locations, Armed Forces Bank has more on-installation locations than any military bank in the country. Armed Forces Bank provides affordable, personal and convenient banking and financial services to both active and retired military, as well as civilian clients in all 50 states and around the world. AFB has $1.2 billion in assets and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dickinson Financial Corporation, a $3.5 billion bank holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri. AFB’s sister bank, Academy Bank, is a full-service community bank with over 70 branch locations in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas and Missouri. For more, visit www.afbank.com. Member FDIC.

At Risk of Losing Your Home? Help Could Be a Click or Call Away.

LinkedIn
woman looking at computer screen with a date on the calendar circled and paperwork on desk

Financial challenges can take a serious toll on anyone, but have been especially felt by veterans in recent years, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why they remain dedicated to supporting veterans, service members and their families with resources during these difficult times.

If you or someone you know is struggling financially, you can reach out to VA for support. Overcoming financial challenges can be stressful, especially when your home is at risk. You don’t have to carry that burden alone.

Veterans Affairs home loan assistance:
Solutions to help you keep your home

Housing hardships have remained one of the top concerns for many people throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have found yourself struggling to afford housing, VA’s home loan assistance may be able to help. If you fall behind on your mortgage payments, your mortgage servicer (the company that handles collecting the money for your lender) can take your house to cover the money you owe. This process is called foreclosure.

However, VA is here to help and guide eligible veterans in understanding your home retention options.

There are six general ways to avoid foreclosure:

Repayment plan: If you’ve missed a few mortgage payments, this plan lets you go back to making your regular payments, with an added amount each month to cover the ones you’ve missed.
Special forbearance: This plan gives you some extra time to repay the missed mortgage payments. At the end of the forbearance, you must repay the missed payments in full to bring the loan current.
Loan modification: This plan lets you add the missed mortgage payments and any related legal costs to your total loan balance. You and your mortgage servicer then agree upon a new mortgage payment schedule.
Extra time to arrange a private sale: If you need to sell your home, this plan lets you delay a foreclosure, so you have time to sell.
Short sale: If you owe more money than your house is worth, your servicer might agree to a short sale. This means the servicer will accept the total proceeds from the home sale (even if it’s less than the full amount you owe on the mortgage) as full payment of the debt you owe.
Deed in lieu of foreclosure: This plan lets you avoid the foreclosure process by signing over the deed to the home to your servicer. The home will then belong to the servicer.

VA loan technicians are available to answer any questions you may have about debt, VA loans and other housing financial concerns. You may also be eligible to receive VA financial counseling to help avoid foreclosure.

If you are struggling with how to make your mortgage payments, contact your nearest VA Regional Loan Center to explore your options and find solutions.

You can also contact a VA Home Loan Representative by calling 1-877-827-3702 Monday through Friday, from 8am to 6pm EST.

Other resources that can help VA also provides veterans, service members and their families with a wide range of financial literacy resources to help you better manage your money, including financial counseling.

For more information

Remember, you can always visit VA’s housing assistance site at va.gov/housingassistance.

If you want to learn more about managing your mental health, visit mentalhealth.va.gov. Here, you can explore a variety of mental health resources, information, treatment options and more. We are aware of the stress that financial challenges may cause. If you find yourself in crisis, do not hesitate to reach out for immediate help. Emergency care is available by calling 911 or going to your nearest emergency department. The Veterans Crisis Line is available 24/7 and can be reached by calling 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1 if you are a veteran). You can also chat or text at 838255.

Source: Vantage Point Blog

What Medical Benefits are Available for Veterans and Their Families?

LinkedIn
U.S. soldier in uniform pointing to technology graphic with a benefits conceptbenefits

Veterans and their loved ones may be eligible for health benefits and medical assistance, including the basic Medical Benefits Package for Veterans, which may include eligibility for dental and mental health benefits, as well as care for dependents and family including Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) (CHAMPVA).

What does the basic medical package for veterans cover?

All enrolled veterans receive the VA’s comprehensive Medical Benefits Package, which includes preventive, primary and specialty care, as well as diagnostic, inpatient and outpatient care services. Veterans may receive additional benefits, such as dental care depending on their unique circumstances.

To check your eligibility, visit the Basic Medical Benefits Package for Veterans program page to take a quick questionnaire, or use the Benefit Finder at benefits.gov to compare your eligibility to over 1,000 assistance programs. If you are eligible, you may also be entitled to other specialized healthcare programs including:

  • Mental Health Services: The VA provides general and specialty mental health services for treatment of a range of mental health conditions, including treatment for substance abuse disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma and serious mental illness. Services are provided in the outpatient and inpatient mental health setting.
  • Dental Care: Outpatient dental treatment is available to eligible veterans and may include the full spectrum of diagnostic, surgical, restorative, and preventive procedures.

How can I apply for these benefits?

To apply, complete the VA Form 10-10EZ, Application for Health Benefits online, on the VA’s website.

What coverage is available for dependents?

Health Care Benefits for Dependents (CHAMPVA) is a comprehensive health care benefits program in which the VA shares the cost of covered health care services and supplies with eligible beneficiaries.

For your dependents to be eligible for CHAMPVA, they cannot be eligible for TRICARE/CHAMPUS, and must be in one of these categories:

  • The spouse or child of a veteran who has been rated permanently and totally disabled for a service-connected disability by a VA regional office.
  • The surviving spouse or child of a veteran who died from a VA-rated service-connected disability.
  • The surviving spouse or child of a veteran who was at the time of death rated permanently and totally disabled from a service-connected disability.
  • The surviving spouse or child of a military member who died in the line of duty, not due to misconduct (in most cases, these family members are eligible for TRICARE, not CHAMPVA).

To check your eligibility, visit the CHAMPVA program page to take a quick questionnaire, or use the Benefit Finder to compare your eligibility for over 1,000 assistance programs.

Where can I find other benefits for veterans?

Benefits.gov provides information on a variety of resources for members of the military and their families, such as housing loans, healthcare, counseling and career assistance, and you can check your eligibility using the Benefit Finder questionnaire.

Curious to learn more about available programs for veterans or other healthcare benefits? Check out our new articles about military benefits and healthcare and medical assistance on our News page.

We hope these resources will help you discover benefits you may eligible for. We encourage everyone to take time this month and throughout the year to appreciate our armed forces and their service to our country.

Source: Benefits.gov

Providing Business, DVBE. Employment & Educational Opportunities For Veterans

American Family Insurance

American Family Insurance

Leidos Video

USVM Commercial

lilly

Alight

Alight

About USVM

Heroes with Hearing loss

VIBN Conference

Robert Half

Upcoming Events

  1. 2-Week Virtual REBOOT Workshop
    January 9, 2023 - January 19, 2024
  2. City Career Fairs Schedule for 2023
    January 26, 2023 - November 1, 2023
  3. Live Virtual REBOOT Workshop
    February 6, 2023 - February 8, 2023
  4. From Day One: Houston 2023
    February 8, 2023
  5. National Association of African American Studies & Affiliates (NAAAS) Conference
    February 16, 2023 - February 18, 2023