Making the Case for Banking Access: Talking to Unbanked People about Bank Accounts

This report, Making the Case for Banking Access: Talking to Unbanked People About Bank Accounts, explores effective messages for communicating with those who are unbanked about the value of safe accounts. The CFE Fund commissioned strategic communications firm RALLY and polling research firm PSB to field a multi-city series of focus groups and surveys to uncover what types of messaging would most effectively move unbanked people to open accounts; a subset of the research focused on the financial attitudes, habits, and goals of unbanked people, as well as on Spanish-speaking unbanked people and how messages might best engage them to open accounts.

The Supervitamin Quarterly, Issue 18

This issue, Issue 18, includes highlights from the second CityStart cohort, a newly selected Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) cohort, as well as exciting program updates for the CFE Fund’s Local Consumer Financial Protection, CityStart, Bank On, FEC, and Summer Jobs Connect initiatives. This issue includes the release of new findings from research on engaging unbanked people, featuring a guest column from the strategic communications firm RALLY, discussing the project, it’s findings, and the most effective messages to communicate with those who are unbanked about the value of safe bank accounts.

The Supervitamin Quarterly, Issue 17

This issue, Issue 17, includes highlights from the 2019 Bank On National Conference, a new Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) funding opportunity, as well as exciting program updates for the CFE Fund’s Local Consumer Financial Protection, CityStart, Bank On, FEC, and Summer Jobs Connect initiatives. This issue’s guest column is a summary of a conversation from the 2019 Bank On National Conference exploring the municipal connection to Bank On with Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of the City of Atlanta, GA; Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba of the City of Jackson, MS; and Mayor Frank Scott Jr. of the City of Little Rock, AR. It also includes local updates from the CFE Coalition, and recent financial empowerment news.

CFE Fund Comment Letter to CFPB on Overdraft Rule

The CFE Fund submitted this 2019 comment letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in response to the Bureau’s request for feedback on review of the Overdraft Rule. Based on its programmatic experience working with over 80 municipal governments and community organizations across the country, the CFE Fund urged the CFPB not to change the Overdraft Rule. Overdraft fees push millions of consumers outside of the financial mainstream, and serves as a barrier for the previously unbanked to rejoin the system – joining the financial mainstream is a critical component of financial stability. In addition, the market is already moving in a positive direction towards no-overdraft products; changing the Overdraft Rule risks slowing the success of this positive shift.

The Citi Foundation and CFE Fund launch the sixth year of Summer Jobs Connect

This press release announces an additional $5 million in support from the Citi Foundation to provide more than 2,550 low-income youth with summer jobs and access to financial education as part of Summer Jobs Connect in 2019. Since launching in 2014, the Citi Foundation has invested over $28 million in this initiative, which has provided 13,535 young people with summer jobs and over 500,000 low-income youth with access to financial education and safe and affordable financial services. Summer Jobs Connect city partners, which include Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York City, St. Louis, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and eight additional cities across the country, have built these financial empowerment strategies into the infrastructure of their Summer Youth Employment Programs. The CFE Fund also launched a national social media campaign, highlighting youth and partner voices on the impact of Summer Jobs Connect, and a new SJC video.

Video: Summer Jobs Connect – More Than Just a Summer Job

Each year, as part of the national Summer Jobs Connect (SJC) initiative, the CFE Fund, with generous support from the Citi Foundation, partners with mayors and local governments from across the country to connect 2,550 young people with summer jobs, and more than 110,000 young people with financial education, banking access, and other financial empowerment resources.

The video below features Summer Jobs Connect partners including the City of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Former City of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, City of Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, and Former President of the Citi Foundation Brandee McHale.

National Banking Access Movement Convenes Stakeholders in Washington, DC

The CFE Fund’s 2019 Bank On National Conference in Washington, DC brought together key stakeholders from multiple sectors across the country: local Bank On coalition program leads and their community partners, Mayors, city administrators, tribal governments, financial institutions large and small, federal banking regulators, national nonprofit organizations, philanthropic partners, consumer advocates, and more.

The conference included a lunchtime conversation on exploring the municipal connection to Bank On with Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of the City of Atlanta, GA; Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba of the City of Jackson, MS; and Mayor Frank Scott Jr. of the City of Little Rock, AR.  Conference topics also included early findings from a national research study on effective communication strategies for unbanked consumers; perspectives from high-level federal banking regulators on banking access; insights from financial institutions of all sizes on investing in Bank On certified products; and best practices on banking access connectivity and integration into community programs.

CFE Coalition Comment Letter to CFPB (2019)

The 16-member CFE Coalition has weighed in on key federal policy issues since its founding in 2008. In this 2019 letter, the Coalition responds in opposition to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) rescinding ability-to-repay requirements governing payday, vehicle title, and certain high-cost installment loans. The Coalition believes these underwriting provisions are crucial, and rescinding them would weaken a much needed rule intended to protect individuals and families from the harmful effects of high-cost and often predatory payday and car-title loans.

This letter focuses on local governments’ experiences with consumer financial instability, and both individual’s and businesses’ need for a fair and dependable consumer financial marketplace. The CFE Fund’s letters also emphasized governments’ interest in preserving and protecting social service gains from predatory business practices that would strip them away, and offered to assist current leadership to help achieve these critical priorities.

CFE Coalition City Expert Topic: Leveraging Tax Time to Build Financial Stability

Tax season is a critical financial empowerment moment for millions of families and individuals across the country. Each year, the tax season is a moment where filers are thinking about their finances; for filers with low and moderate incomes, tax season usually also means receiving a large lump sum in the form of a tax refund, often bolstered by the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). In addition, EITC-eligible filers can access free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) from trained professionals. This brief details why city leaders are investing in tax time initiatives, provides details on how these programs operate, and highlights how cities have gotten started doing this critical work.

Supervitamin Quarterly, Issue 16

This issue, Issue 16, includes registration for the 2019 Bank On National Conference, exciting program updates for the CFE Fund’s Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) replication, CityStart, and Local Consumer Financial Protection initiatives; upcoming grant opportunities; and new Bank On resources. It also includes local updates from the CFE Coalition, and a guest column from Lin Lin Liang, Bank On Fellow for the Bank On Suncoast coalition.