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Charlottesville Launches Affordable Banking Program - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Charlottesville Launches Affordable Banking Program

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Charlottesville is launching a new program to provide affordable banking. BankOn Greater Charlottesville officially kicked-off Monday morning at CitySpace. 

The initiative connects private and public institutions to provide safe checking and deposit accounts for low-income communities. Organizers say they wanted to create an alternative option for under-served people, so they wouldn't fall victim to predatory lending.

"The idea for this came together with a lot of agencies and also folks in the low-income community who are seeing the impact of check cashers and payday lenders and that's really drawing resources out of our community here, and thought, what could we do that would be an alternative," said Cherie Seise of BankOn.

About 12,000 people in the Charlottesville area rely on check cashing or payday lenders.

The complete list of participating banks and credit unions follows:

  • BB&T
  • StellarOne Bank
  • Union First Market Bank
  • University of Virginia Community Credit Union
  • Virginia National Bank

BankOn Greater Charlottesville
Press Release

The BankOn launch event "Financial Empowerment Tools for the Unbanked and Underbanked" at City Space Monday April, 15 at 9:00 am will provide local service providers, employers and community members information on the BankOn program.

BankOn Greater Charlottesville is an initiative of the City of Charlottesville and the nonprofit Coalition of Economic Opportunity. BankOn Greater Charlottesville brings together the City of Charlottesville, area service providers and financial institutions to offer financial education and safe, affordable consumer banking products to people who might otherwise turn to costly check-cashers and payday lenders. These products include affordable checking and deposit accounts, including account options for people who have never had a bank account or who may have had difficulties with accounts in the past.

BankOn offers affordable, safe banking options for clients like Sheena, who had difficulty opening an account and was referred to the BankOn program. "I was looking for a place to open an account because I missed the convenience of banking with a real bank," says Sheena, "if you need a path to a bank account, this is a great program."

People without bank or credit union accounts can spend upwards of $1,000 every year paying for check cashing and money orders. Living without a bank or credit union account also makes it difficult to save for the future and access credit. The BankOn program connects unbanked households with banking products and financial education resources to support them in taking the next step towards financial security.

Participating banks and credit unions who are offering new products to help local families become "banked" include BB&T, StellarOne Bank, Union First Market Bank, University of Virginia Community Credit Union and Virginia National Bank.

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