Bank on Denver promotes greater use of checking and savings accounts among Denver’s low- and moderate-income residents
Mayor John Hickenlooper and representatives from the National League of Cities, U.S. Conference of Mayors, local banking institutions, and community organizations today announced Bank on Denver, a new initiative to benefit working residents without bank accounts. Bank on Denver promotes financial education and greater use of checking and savings accounts among unbanked and underbanked populations.
“Mainstream financial services provide an important building block to economic stability, prosperity and asset building among our residents,” said Hickenlooper. “The Bank on Denver initiative aligns our local banking industry, community organizations and local government to promote greater wealth for our residents and community.”
The public-private initiative includes voluntary support from 10 banks and credit unions, various community partner organizations and the City and County of Denver.
Bank on Denver is modeled after the Bank on San Francisco initiative, which created more than 10,000 new starter banking accounts during its first year in 2006. The National League of Cities has supported the establishment of similar programs by local municipalities throughout the country and selected the City and County of Denver as one of eight cities to participate in its Bank on Cities Campaign last year. The program provided technical assistance over a one-year period to assist the City in its development of Bank on Denver.
An estimated 36,000 Denver households do not have banking accounts according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. Additionally, the Brookings Institute reports that the average full-time worker who is not using a bank or credit union will spend $40,000 over a lifetime to turn his or her salary into cash.
“Bank on Denver is designed to help hard-working residents keep more of what they earn and start them on a pathway to improved financial success,” said City Councilman Doug Linkhart, co-chair of the Bank on Denver Steering Committee. “Through this effort, we have partnered with banks and credit unions to develop new products and enhance existing products in order to meet the needs of unbanked populations.”
Participating banks and credit unions are required to offer low- or no-cost checking accounts with no minimum balance requirement as well as support the marketing of Bank on Denver through underwriting support.
Community partner organizations, including nonprofit organizations and community agencies, provide the primary means for promoting Bank on Denver starter accounts to underbanked populations.
Bank on Denver financial education classes will begin this fall, with topics including household budgets, checking account management, credit ratings, debt management and savings plans.
Lead partners of Bank on Denver are the City and County of Denver, Colorado Bankers Association, Credit Union Association of Colorado, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City-Denver Branch, Independent Bankers of Colorado and Mile High United Way. Bank on Denver is supported by US Bank (gold sponsor); silver sponsors Bank of the West, Chase, Denver Community Credit Union, KeyBank, TCF Bank, Wells Fargo; and bronze sponsors Guaranty Bank & Trust, United Western and Vectra Bank. Additionally, Bank on Denver has received support through a $20,000 Dollarwi$e financial literacy grant from the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Bank on Denver was developed as a result of recommendations developed by the Denver Economic Prosperity Task Force, a group of citizens, policy makers, businesses, representatives and practitioners convened by the Denver Mayor’s Office and Denver City Council in March 2008. Among its recommendations, the task force called for a focus on connecting adults with financial resources and identified the use of high-cost financial services such as check cashing and payday lending as one of the key barriers preventing residents from building credit, savings and other assets.
For more information, visit http://www.bankondenver.org or call 311 (or 720-913-1311 for callers outside of the City and County of Denver).