On Monday (17 August), the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFEF) and Connecticut Association for Human Services (CAHS), announced that certified accounts will be made available, state-wide, through the Bank On coalition movement.
Bank of America, Chase, Key Bank and Wells Fargo will offer certified accounts, supported by the Bank On platform.
“I am thrilled that through our partnership with banks and community organizations, the Bank On Connecticut program will open doors for our unbanked and underbanked neighbors so that they can access free financial education,” explained John Merz, chief executive officer CAHS.
The news comes as charities and non-profit organizations continued to receive higher volumes of calls about financial distress as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A 2019 report by the Federal Reserve estimated that some 63 million Americans are currently without a bank account or access to broader financial services products. This accounts for around 22% of the population.
Bank On Connecticut has been launched following a successful smaller trial by Bank On New Haven.
Dani Cassidy, senior vice president and Connecticut region executive for Bank of America, explained that the bank has been involved with the project since the program’s inception in New Haven.
“Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking was developed with the needs of the underserved in mind and has been certified to Bank On standards since its development,” she explained.
“Bank of America is committed to supporting economic mobility across the state of Connecticut, to help put communities and individuals on a path to long-term success.”
The Bank On coalition movement was launched by the CFEF to promote affordable banking services to Americans who may not have access to traditional banking services.
On announcing the roll out across Connecticut, Jonathan Mintz, president and chief executive officer of the CFEF, said the Covid-19 outbreak has underscored the importance of basic banking facilities.
“The pandemic has demonstrated how essential a mainstream banking account is – to directly deposit stimulus, unemployment, and other emergency payments; to pay bills electronically; and to access funds without going in person to predatory services like check cashers or payday lenders.”
Mintz described Bank On coalitions as “critical” in the current climate, explaining that they help people to keep people safe by offering affordable access to financial services.
“We were proud to support Bank On New Haven, and we are thrilled to see this effort expand across the state through Bank On Connecticut.”