Mayor launches program to help residents open bank accounts

Mayor Mallory, center, announces the Bank On initiative
Mayor Mallory, center, announces the Bank On initiative

Mayor Mark Mallory and SmartMoney Community Services have announced the launch of 'Bank On Greater Cincinnati,' a program that allows Greater Cincinnati families to easily open safe, affordable bank accounts with mainstream financial institutions.

Bank On is a partnership between the Cities of Cincinnati, Covington, and Newport, SmartMoney Community Services, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland (Cincinnati Branch), and local banks and credit unions.

"Over the next two years, we plan to bring thousands of un-banked households in Greater Cincinnati into the financial mainstream so they can begin to save and build assets," Mayor Mallory said.  "Our goal is to have the fewest un-banked residents of any major American city."

Bank On Greater Cincinnati will offer easy and low cost bank accounts to everyone, even individuals who have had bad banking experiences in the past.  The accounts will be offered at 15 local participating banks and credit unions, which is almost every banking institution in the region.

According the Pew Charitable Trust, there are 42,000 households that are unbanked in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Covington Mayor Denny Bowman and Newport Mayor Jerry Peluso are leading the effort in Northern Kentucky.

The initiative offers an alternative to high-priced, check cashing and payday lending businesses.  An average user of payday lending services spends $900 a year in fees.  Bank On will turn those fees into savings.

Participating banks and credit unions have agreed to help local unbanked families become banked by offering new products and services, which include an affordable checking account.

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