In 2016, the Boulder County Housing and Financial Counseling Program received a small grant to kick-off the Bank On Boulder County Coalition. Since December 2017, a 28 member coalition has been formed including eight banks/credit unions, a statewide bankers association and the FDIC; two local community foundations, three local and one national non-profit social service organizations; and six Boulder County social service agencies as well as the City of Boulder.
All have been working together to survey the banked, underbanked and unbanked in the county and hear from unbanked focus groups. These results will continue to influence the production of the Bank On Boulder County Products and Services Menu that will help to guide Case Managers and clients to identify local safe and affordable accounts with features like no overdraft fees, minimal account balances, and free on-line/ATM banking options. The Coalition is also committed to identifying 'second-chance accounts' for those that have had banking troubles in the past to address the national statistic that more than half of the unbanked have had accounts previously.
Like Bank On Denver, the local Boulder Coalition considers one-on-one financial counseling and web-based guidance for navigating the account and service options of equal importance to products and services to assist residents in making the best choice based on their individual needs. Joining unbiased financial counseling services with safe and affordable banking options is unique to Bank On Boulder County and our regional mentor, Bank On Denver. The combination of resources and personal service provides a special opportunity for clients to be supported in using mainstream financial institutions to receive direct deposit, pay bills online and on-time, avoid high fees, build positive credit and reap the benefits of competitively obtaining employment, rentals and even purchasing a home.
Bank On Boulder County is holding two morning Partner Summits on May 17th and May 18th - Register. These Summits will lead to a September Public Launch of Bank On Boulder County. Stay tuned!
The Bank On Denver Program which has been in operation nearly six years. When Boulder County received a small grant to kick-off Bank On locally, the two programs quickly connected on the concept of Bank On 2.0 which builds in the critical component of Financial Coaching/Counseling to help the unbanked and underbanked carefully and objectively navigate their banking options. Through Bank On 2.0, residents are encouraged to:
Our collective vision is to spread Bank On throughout the region. We are applying for a fellowship for a position to coordinate this initiative. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are a county or entity that would like to engage in the regional Bank On initiative!
Bank On is a national movement consisting of over 55 coalitions: locally-led partnerships between local public officials; city, state, and federal government agencies; financial institutions; and community organizations that work together to help improve the financial stability of unbanked and underbanked individuals and families in their communities. Bank On programs accomplish this by raising public awareness, targeting outreach to the unbanked and underbanked, and expanding access to financial education. These first-generation banking access programs have already connected tens of thousands of people to safe and affordable accounts.
Bank On coalition structures vary, but successful coalitions focus on access to safe and appropriate low-fee transaction accounts that meet Bank On National Account Standards (2017 – 2018), have strong municipal leadership and/or connections to local government services, and have a diverse group of committed coalition partners.
The Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund’s Bank On national initiative builds on the grassroots movement, supporting local coalitions with strategic and financial support, as well as by liaising nationally with banking, regulatory, and nonprofit organization partners to expand banking access, including through the first-ever Bank On National Account Standards, newly updated for 2017- 2018.
The CFE Fund also recently announced an online Bank On account validation and certification process; banks and credit unions across the country, at no cost, now can submit for validation products they believe meet the national Standards. The list of financial institutions offering such products continues to expand across the country.