Financial Independence Center

Cowlitz Asset Building Coalition and Bank on Cowlitz County

The Cowlitz County Asset Building Coalition is dedicated to leveling the field for low to moderate income families and individuals by working together through programs that provide:

  • financial education,
  • credit counseling
  • budget management
  • re-entering the banking system with second-chance accounts

CAP has been the lead agency since 2005 along with the following partners:

  • local, state and federal government
  • non-profit entities
  • businesses
  • financial institutions
  • housing agencies
  • workforce development agencies
  • social welfare agencies

Bank on Cowlitz County brings together local resources to expand access to first time and second chance accounts to local low- and moderate-income residents, especially working families. The goal of the strategy is to assist the County’s unbanked and underbanked residents achieve greater economic prosperity by connecting them to financial mainstream services, products, and financial education.

This will be achieved through:

  • Promoting available no or low-cost financial services and products
  • Increasing the availability of financial education and financial coaching services to residents
  • Increasing community awareness of potential impacts of residents outside of the financial mainstream
  • Involving the support of diverse partners, including financial institutions, workforce development agencies, social service, housing agencies, federal, state, and local government agencies, and free-tax preparation assistance sites

To find out more about the Cowlitz Asset Building Coalition or Bank on Cowlitz County Initiative, please contact Liz Myntti at 360-425-3430 ext 215 or

Pathways 2 Financial Inclusion

CAP provides one-on-one Financial Coaching assistance to low income community residents.  Financial coaching services include:

  • personalized assistance with budgeting
  • identifying financial “leakages”
  • accessing/understanding credit reports
  • how to reduce debt and improve credit scores
  • accessing bank services
  • referrals to income benefits
  • and more….

Money Smart Financial Education

Lower Columbia CAP and the  Cowlitz Asset Building Coalition are sponsoring financial education for all adults with the intention of improving and increasing family wealth. This can be accomplished by improving saving habits, managing debt and increasing assets. These group workshops are filled with open discussions and financial education using the Money Smart training materials from the FDIC (Federal Depository Insurance Corporation).

Money Smart Classes are open to the public and no pre-registration is required.

Workshop sessions are held in 8 week cycles and then repeated. The classes can be taken in any order as each is its own topic. Find the current schedule here.

For more information call 360-425-3430 ext 215 or 1-800-383-2101 (ext 215)

Earned Income Tax Credit

It’s easier than ever to find out if you qualify for EITC. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable credit for people who work but did not earn high incomes. The EITC is a valuable tool helping eligible taxpayers lower their taxes or receive refunds. The IRS wants all eligible taxpayers to take the credit they deserve.

Free Tax Preparation

For self-filers that just need a computer with internet access, CAP Computer Lab is set up for walk-ins, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday 9am-3pm.

Beginning January 27th through April 17th, 2018 AARP free tax aides will be at:

Lower Columbia CAP – 1526 Commerce Avenue, Longview on Tuesday and Thursday; 9am-7pm, no new returns started after 6:00pm.

Longview Public Library – 1600 Louisiana Street, Longview on Friday and Saturday; 12:30-4:15pm, no new returns started after 3:00pm.

Castle Rock Senior Center – 222-2nd Avenue, Castle Rock on the third Monday of February, March and April 10:00am-1:00pm by appointment only, please call 360-274-7502 for appointment.

To get free assistance or e-file your return, you MUST have the following with you:

  • Social Security cards for ALL names listed on the return. This includes all children.
  • Picture ID for tax payer and spouse (if applicable).
  • All documents relating to income and taxes paid (W2’s, 1099s, real estate tax statement etc.).
  • The original purchase date and costs of any stock sales you will be reporting in 2010.
  • Your tax return for the previous year is also very helpful.
  • If they are doing a direct deposit, need a voided check (able to split the refund 3 ways).
  • If you do not have Social Security card OR a letter from the Social Security Office, AARP Tax-Aides cannot help you.

Taxpayers are helped on a first come, first served basis except for disabled individuals who may be helped first at the  CAP and Library sites. No appointments available at CAP or Library sites.

Questions: please call 360-425-3430.

PLEASE NOTE:  If Longview/Kelso schools are closed due to inclement weather, AARP Tax Aide sites will be closed.