In a statement for the record shared ahead of a House Financial Services subcommittee hearing on expanding access to the financial system today, the American Bankers Association emphasized the banking industry’s commitment to reducing the number of unbanked individuals in the country. The statement details ABA’s support for the Bank On movement, a national effort led by the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, designed to extend access to banking services to U.S. households that remain unbanked. Bank On-certified accounts include features like low costs, no overdraft fees, robust transaction capabilities via a debit or prepaid card and free online bill pay.
“More than 7 million households remain outside the banking system without a deposit account. America’s banks believe everyone should have access to the banking system and the safety, convenience and other benefits that come with a bank account—and we are committed to continuing our efforts to build trust with unbanked consumers,” ABA said, adding that since it began encouraging banks to offer Bank On accounts in October 2020, the number of Bank On-certified accounts has more than doubled.
Since then, ABA has expanded its efforts to bring more banks into the program, promoting Bank On via virtual events, podcasts, webinars, paid social and digital media campaigns and other member communication initiatives. At the hearing, which also examined the role public banks and the Postal Service could play in addressing the unbanked problem, a top CFE Fund executive highlighted the increasing number of banks offering Bank On accounts and the measurable progress the program has made in reaching the unbanked.