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Letters to the Editor

Partnership helps veterans/visually impaired

We can accomplish so much when we are not worried about who claims the credit.

That is the essence of a new partnership between the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office and The Chicago Lighthouse, formerly known as The Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind.

Lighthouse is a world-renowned social service organization serving veterans and people who are blind, visually impaired and disabled. Since 1906, it has provided vision rehabilitation services, education, employment opportunities and assistive technology for people of all ages.

To help pay for these services, Lighthouse has revenue-generating partnerships with private corporations and public entities. One of these services is operating a customer call center. This month, the state treasurer’s office became a partner.

Lighthouse will offer customer care support for our electronic banking and payment services, called ePAY. 

Created in 2002, ePAY provides a safe, timely and competitively priced payment tool for units of local government that offer electronic payment of bills. ePAY accepts credit cards, bank cards and electronic checks either online, at point of sale, or by telephone. More than 600 local governments use ePAY, including cities, counties, libraries, and park districts. Community colleges and universities also can benefit from ePAY.

Lighthouse focuses on professional development, retention and advancement of employees, so I anticipate exceptional customer service that will allow for 95 percent of ePAY questions to be resolved within one business day.

The Lighthouse partnership is possible through ePAY improvements that lower fees, improve customer service, and provide more security.

ePAY participants also can earn greater returns on investments when participating in The Illinois Funds, a local government investment pool that is designed to complement local banking relationships. Daily liquidity is available through this $5 billion fund that is legally immune from a state budget impasse and enjoys a top credit rating from S&P Global. The Illinois Funds has provided consistent investment return and liquidity since 1975. More than 7,000 units of local government invest in The Illinois Funds.

This partnership supports meaningful work for veterans and people who are blind, visually impaired and disabled; assists our local governments to serve their residents; and saves taxpayers money.

A win-win can be accomplished when we are not worried about who claims the credit.

Michael W. Frerichs, Illinois state treasurer


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