Houston Chronicle

By Chris Tomlinson

Every manager wants their employees focused on the task at hand, but workers find it hard to concentrate when creditors come calling, their car is broken down or the rent is overdue.

While most employers offer health care, fewer pay any attention to their employee’s financial health. About half of Texas workers lack emergency savings, and more than 40 percent rely on nonbank borrowing, such as payday lenders and title loans, according to this year’s National Financial Capability Study.

Any executive curious about the financial wellbeing of their workforce need only ask human resources how often employees download a copy of their pay stub, said Francis Gonzalez, San Antonio program officer for the Asset Funders Network.

“You’d be surprised how many of those are being pulled down by people who take them to a payday lender,” Gonzalez added.

The flipside of employee stability indicators can reflect levels of employee stress: turnover, attendance problems and more frequent income verification requests.

Gonzalez spoke at an Asset Funders Network seminar to promote employer financial wellness programs, not only to help workers manage their money, but help companies reduce employee turnover and boost productivity.

The nonprofit network, led by JP Morgan Chase bank, connects companies with nonprofit and for-profit services that provide low-cost or free assistance. The network strives to reduce poverty by providing low-income workers with the knowledge necessary to avoid debt.