There's money to be made for banks that offer low-cost deposit accounts to previously unbanked or underbanked households. That's one of the key takeaways from a recent Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis report that looks at new account openings, debit transactions and online banking activity, associated with Bank On checking accounts. Bank On accounts, offered by dozens of banks, must charge no overdraft fees and no-fee debit cards, among other things, as designated by the nonprofit Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. Last year, customers at 17 financial institutions opened 2.2 million new Bank On checking accounts. Among those, 82% were new customers and 79% regularly used online banking options, the St. Louis Fed said in a report based on information submitted to its Bank On National Data Hub.
For their fourth annual ranking of top impact companies, Real Leaders recognizes the rise in purpose-driven businesses by expanding their Real Leaders Impact Awards list to our biggest yet with 200 winners! Included are a diverse group of companies from around the world that prove that businesses can thrive and help build a better world. Included among the winners are CDBA members Beneficial State Bank and Sunrise Banks.
US policymakers have been urged by a senior co-op figure to invest more in Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) at a hearing last week. The comments, from John Holdsclaw IV, executive vice president of strategic initiatives at the National Cooperative Bank, were reported in a blog post from co-op sector body NCBA-CLUSA. The hearing was focused on how CDFIs enhance economic opportunities in underserved communities, and looked for ways the federal government can better support their work. The Senate Banking Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Community Development heard Mr Holdsclaw urge Congress to increase annual funding to USD$1bn for the CDFI Fund, among other priorities.
This week, Wells Fargo joined the list of large banks introducing short-term credit products — and the much smaller OneUnited Bank in Boston unveiled a version of its own, intended as an alternative to payday loans. OneUnited's loan, called CashPlease, is designed to help customers of the $635 million-asset Black-owned bank manage their cash flow without the hurdles and higher costs some other lenders might impose. Instead of conducting credit checks, it looks at applicants' checking-account activity and other aspects of their relationship with the bank. Funds arrive within four hours of the loan's approval. OneUnited's rollout of CashPlease comes after the introduction of similar small-dollar loans by several large banks. In October 2020, for instance, Bank of America launched Balance Assist, which offers loans of up to $500 for a flat $5 fee and a repayment period of three monthly installments.
People of color are paying more than twice the amount in banking fees than White Americans, a Bankrate survey found. When asked about fees such as ATM, overdraft and routine service charges, Black adults report shelling out an average of $12 a month for checking accounts at banks or credit unions and Hispanics are paying $14 a month, on average. White checking account holders said they are paying an average $5 per month, according to the survey, which was conducted by YouGov. For minority communities, the disparity in bank fees are indicative of the inequality they have faced for years, suggested John Holdsclaw IV, board chair of the Coalition of Community Development Financial Institutions. CDFIs are credit unions, banks, microloan funds or venture capital providers that provide low-income communities access to financial services.