Getting the unbanked banked

Today, United Way for Greater Austin kicks off a strategic outreach campaign to help Austin families save hundreds of dollars each year by opening free or low-cost bank accounts. Through our Bank On Central Texas (BOCT) initiative, we’ve gathered a coalition of eight local banks and two local credit unions to promote the importance of bank accounts and track how many we’ve helped open.

“United Way for Greater Austin and our Bank On partners are committed to ensuring Austinites have access to basic banking and other financial services,” said Sarah Janecka, Director of the Financial Opportunity program at UWATX. “By avoiding check-cashing fees, families are able to keep their hard-earned money and use it for basic needs, save for education and build up emergency funds. A bank account is a critical step to long-term financial stability and helping families thrive.”

Without a bank account, families pay close to $1,000 a year in fees to cash checks. In Austin, 32,500 households lack a bank account and on top of that, about 70,000 are underbanked – meaning, while they have a bank account they still access high-cost services like payday and auto-title loans because they are not taking advantage of other banking services. Overall, 1 in 3 Austin households lack the financial products to build savings and make the most of their money.

The BOCT initiative launched in 2009 and has already helped open 12,000 new bank accounts. Through this outreach campaign, which will run through the end of June, UWATX hopes to educate Austinites about financial stability and increase the number of banked households in our community.

Find additional information about the outreach campaign here. If you need help finding a participating financial institution, just call 2-1-1 or use our Bank Locator tool.

If you would like to help distribute information about the campaign, please contact our Finance Opportunity department.

Bank On Partners:

(*Financial institutions participating in the outreach campaign)


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