CFED Assets & Opportunity Scorecard
|Statewide Financial Access Programs|
States with Statewide Financial Access Programs
Checking and savings accounts are the basic building blocks for participating in the financial mainstream. Yet, millions of Americans do not have or fully use a basic bank account. States can create programs to promote access to affordable and appropriate financial products for underserved customers. One successful strategy for encouraging financial institutions to offer financial products that meet the needs of low-income customers is through local or state “Bank On” programs. Bank On programs are city- or state-led coalitions that bring together local or state government, financial institutions, and community organizations to help increase access to safe and affordable financial products for unbanked and underbanked individuals. Bank On initiatives work with financial institutions to design free or low-cost bank accounts specifically targeted at underserved populations. In addition, some Bank On programs partner with nonprofits and other organizations to offer financial education with the account.
What States Can Do
States can create a statewide financial access program to provide consistency and create economies of scale. Creation of a state-level financial access or Bank On program is usually led by a policymaker, such as a governor or treasurer, who uses his or her authority to create the program within a state agency. This agency is responsible for managing and coordinating the statewide financial access or Bank On efforts.
Strength of State Policies: Statewide Financial Access Programs
|Is there a statewide program to expand financial|
product access to underserved customers? 1
|California||Bank On California|
|Connecticut||Bank On Connecticut|
|District of Columbia||Bank On DC|
|Florida||Bank On Florida|
|Illinois||Bank On Illinois|
|Indiana||Bank On Indiana|
|Washington||Bank On Washington|
What States Have Done
The City of San Francisco’s Office of the Treasurer launched the first local Bank On initiative in 2006, closely followed by the cities of Seattle and Evansville in 2008. San Francisco’s success sparked a movement of Bank On initiatives across the country. The Bank On model is now being replicated in approximately 70 cities, regions and states nationwide.
At the state level, California launched the first state Bank On initiative in 2008. In total, 6 states – California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana and Washington – and the District of Columbia have statewide Bank On programs.
Organizations and Experts:
Guides, Briefs and Reports:
- "Banking On Opportunity: A Scan of the Evolving Field of Bank On Initiatives," U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Financial Education and Financial Access, 2012
- "Partnerships You Can Bank On: Sustainable Financial Institution Engagement in Bank On Programs," CFED, 2012
- "Building Better Bank Ons," New America Foundation/San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment, 2011
- "Bank On Cities Toolkit," National League of Cities, 2011
CFED thanks Louisa Quittman of the Office of Consumer Policy, U.S. Department of Treasury and Spike Kiel of the FDIC for their input and expertise on this policy issue.