The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues are partnering with the Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund by encouraging credit unions to begin offering Bank On certified deposit accounts to increase the availability of safe, low-cost transactions for millions of unbanked and underbanked consumers.
“Displaying a ‘Bank On’ certification is the right thing to do for the communities our credit unions serve. It aligns with our philosophy of financially empowering unbanked and underbanked individuals who don’t have any other local options,” said Diana Dykstra, president/CEO of the Leagues. “Our industry has an opportunity to show state and federal legislators and regulators real numbers on local credit union involvement in this important endeavor, which policymakers are increasingly monitoring.”
Once a credit union applies for and receives the Bank On certification for a transactional product, it possesses an important tool to uniquely change a member’s life.
Credit unions can welcome local underserved consumers into the financial mainstream to help them save money, potentially build credit history, and transact funds under their historically acclaimed and trustworthy banking services and philosophy.
Additionally, local Bank On coalitions, elected officials, and other community stakeholders can confidently refer consumers to Bank On certified accounts, especially as they integrate banking access into large-scale public programs and payment streams.
Many credit unions are already doing this. However, from a data-collection perspective, obtaining the Bank On account certification is a powerful way of aggregating the industry’s footprint in this area and showcasing to elected officials and local leaders that underserved banking communities can count on credit unions to manage their financial transactions, savings, and proactively educate them. Credit unions receiving this account certification will be able to spotlight the member-centric philosophy they are already proving each day in the communities they serve.
“Our state and federal political leaders across both states are examining multiple avenues to address the challenges faced by these consumers,” Dykstra said. “There is a heightened focus and interest by policymakers to ensure low-income and rural and unbanked communities are being served. While some credit unions already offer these types of accounts, becoming Bank On certified can help solidify and measure the safe and affordable banking options our industry offers local communities.”
The CFE Fund worked closely with financial institutions, federal regulators, community organizations, and other key stakeholders to develop Bank On National Account Standards. These standards provide local programs with a benchmark for account partnerships with financial institutions. Bank On certified accounts provide safe, affordable, and functional banking that allows consumers to build or rebuild a relationship with a mainstream financial institution.
“Bank On certification signals to local Bank On coalitions, elected officials, and community organizations that these accounts are affordable, safe, and fully functional,” said Jonathan Mintz, president/CEO of Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund). “We’re proud to partner with the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues to encourage even more credit unions to join the almost 250 institutions already offering a certified account, and bring more vulnerable consumers into the financial mainstream so they can thrive.”
Dykstra said the Leagues look forward to proactively encouraging credit unions to obtain the Bank On certification seal of approval for their accounts to help showcase what many of them are already doing for their communities. “We are asking our industry to publicly demonstrate the good financial practices that we exemplify as legislators and regulators increasingly look to address unbanked and underbanked communities.”