This issue of the Skyline (link) spotlights efforts in Illinois and Maryland to expand banking access by promoting and incentivizing direct deposits into safe bank and credit union accounts for unemployment payments. Previously, these payments were disbursed through paper checks or prepaid cards. Both states have ceased payments through prepaid cards, and focused instead onthe availability of safe banking accounts that meet the CFE Fund’s Bank On National Account Standards. These programs, and other similar efforts to connect large-scale public payments to safe banking access, have seen tremendous success—the FDIC found that 2021 saw the lowest national rate of unbanked people ever recorded, with over a third of those recently banked citing a government payment as the reason they opened an account. Read the full issue here and subscribe to the Skyline here. 

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