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United States : BANK ON SOUTH ALABAMA initiative boosts stability for those who are under-banked and unbanked

July 14, 2014

A collaboration of financial institutions and community organizations in 8 county area in Alabama aims to reduce the number of people who do not have checking or savings accounts.

The "Bank On South Alabama" initiative is mirrored after programs in cities around the US, brings together institutions willing to provide checking and saving account options to an underserved population.

The goal is to reduce the number of people without a bank or those underserved with banking options, those who rely on alternative financial services such as payday loans by 10% by 2015.

The under-banked and unbanked are 30,000 that are relying on alternative checking services. As a result, they are giving up needed and well-earned cash.

The collaboration consists of 18 banks and credit unions and 18 community organizations such as the Center for Fair Housing Inc., Goodwill Easter Seals of the Gulf Coast, FDIC, and United Way 2-1-1.

The main function is to refer clients they are working with to the initiative and explain it to them.

The initiative will be rolled out in Baldwin County next month. Similar programs will be introduced in Washington, Escambia and Clarke counties.

The effort is modeled after the one in San Francisco that includes financial education combined with counseling, low-cost checking and savings accounts, and electronic pay solutions. The program became a national model, and now 80 cities have a similar initiative.

Here's how to get started: Choose a bank or credit union that participates in Bank On South Alabama programs.

Visit the bank or credit union, bring a photo ID (driver's license, passport, state ID card, etc.) along with your social security number or individual taxpayer identification number.

Ask about special Bank On South Alabama offers.

Ask about special classes to help you get the most from your money and new account.

The participating banks offer free checking and/or second chance accounts. Initial deposits are fairly low in many cases.

The participating institutions are training front-line branch staffers on what should needs to be done to develop relationships with the unbanked and under banked.

The initiative can help increase the quality of life in the city, especially if dependence is on cashing services and payday loans, then there isn t much disposable income. This is a positive approach for the banks.

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Source: TendersInfo (India)

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