Bank On ICT is the first Bank On initiative in the state of Kansas
WICHITA, Kan., Sept. 22, 2022 – United Way of the Plains is collaborating with area financial institutions to improve financial stability for residents through better access to traditional banking and credit union tools. The coalition, called Bank On ICT, is part of a national movement to connect people who are currently unbanked with safe and affordable financial products and practices. Approximately 6.6% of households in Wichita rely on costly alternative services – like check cashers, payday lenders and pawn shops – for routine financial transactions. They are half as likely to save for emergencies as those with traditional financial accounts and can spend more than $40,000 over a lifetime in fees to access their money. The newly formed coalition is working with unbanked individuals who are currently outside of the mainstream financial system to expand their access to safe and affordable Bank On certified accounts.
Three area financial institutions are participating in the coalition and offering special accounts and support services to help low to moderate-income households achieve greater financial health: Bank of America, Commerce Bank and INTRUST Bank. Community partners providing input and helping connect their constituents with Bank On ICT services include Consumer Credit Counseling Services, Inc., Dear Neighbor Ministries, Empower, Goodwill Industries of Kansas, Habitat for Humanity, Lead for Kansas, Meritrust Credit Union, StepStone, Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas and the YMCA.
Bank On ICT is led by Michelle Presnell, Community Impact Manager for Financial Stability, at United Way of the Plains. Presnell said the members of Bank On ICT are dedicated to reducing and removing the barriers for safe and affordable banking products. “Many of us take it for granted that we can safely and automatically deposit payments, access our money to pay bills and save for emergencies. We want to expand that security to those who haven’t been able to access it for a variety of reasons. Some people may have identification, credit or banking history problems. Others can’t consistently meet minimum balance requirements. Bank On coalitions operate across the nation as part of the Cities for Financial Empowerment (CPE) Fund. They’ve successfully helped those in need and connected them with other helpful resources like credit counseling and translation services. Financial empowerment is important for stabilizing individuals and families.”
Presnell said that elected officials are supportive of the new services being offered to their constituents. “Bank On coalitions succeed when they are locally led and include strong partnerships between government agencies, financial institutions, community organization and public officials. There are currently 90 of these programs across the country. This is the first one in Kansas, but we hope to increase awareness about how transformative Bank On programs can be in strengthening communities around the state. It’s our hope that other regions in Kansas will want to get involved and develop their own Bank On initiatives.”
Area residents can find a list of participating financial institutions at unitedwayplains.org/bankonict. Bank On ICT representatives will be available to answer questions at two upcoming Information and Resource Fair events at these City of Wichita Neighborhood Resource Centers:
- Saturday, Oct. 1: 1 to 4 p.m., District 1 Atwater (2755 E 19th St)
- Saturday, Oct. 8: Noon to 2 p.m., District 3 Colvin (2820 S. Roosevelt)
Additional financial institutions and community partners are welcome to become involved with the initiative and should contact Michelle Presnell at United Way of the Plains at (316) 267-1321, ext. 4232, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
MEDIA CONTACT: Angie Prather, Vice President of Marketing and Chief Community Engagement Officer, (316) 267-1321, email@example.com
United Way of the Plains is a nonprofit and for-impact organization that focuses on health, education, financial stability and basic needs – the building blocks for a good quality of life and a strong community. Our mission is to improve lives by harnessing the caring power of our community to advance the common good in south central Kansas. Follow us on these social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok.
The Bank On national initiative offers national account standards, capacity grant support, pilot funding and a learning community. In addition to connecting unbanked individuals to accounts, Bank On programs raise public awareness, target outreach to the unbanked and expand access to financial education. Visit www.cfefund.org/bankon for more information. Follow the conversation on Twitter @CFEfund #BankOn.
The Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund supports municipal efforts to improve the financial stability of households by leveraging opportunities unique to local government. The CFE is currently working in over 100 cities and countries representing 75 million people and has disbursed over $55 million to city governments and their partners to support these efforts. For more information, visit www.cfefund.org and follow the organization on Twitter at @CFEFund.