Helping the Unbanked in Connecticut

This blog post was contributed by CAHS Summer Intern, Ellen Scully:

73,000 Connecticut households (5%) are presently unbanked, meaning they do not have a checking or savings account. These individuals are 50.7% Hispanic, 32.9% black, and 15.1% white. Over half of these households earn less than $15,000 annually.

As a result of being unbanked, these families pay substantial fees to cash checks and pay bills, cannot establish credit, and have no safe place to keep their money.

When surveyed, the unbanked cited four major reasons for not having bank accounts. First, they were unclear of what type of identification was required to open an account.

Second, unbanked individuals were concerned about the security of their information and money at banks, many times not knowing the FDIC provides $250,000 depositor insurance. Thirdly, the unbanked found that many banks have inconvenient locations and limited hours. Finally, this population expressed difficulty communicating with bank employees due to a language barrier.

In response to this problem, CAHS has launched Bank On Connecticut, a partnership of nonprofit organizations and Connecticut banks that are collaborating to offer individuals without bank accounts a way of learning about banking and opening a safe starter checking or savings account.

Bank On Connecticut hopes to teach these individuals that not only can banking be safe and convenient, but that it is a necessary step in both saving money and building financial assets.

Bank On Connecticut is part of a wider national Bank On initiative aiming to “bank” the 7.7% of Americans who are currently unbanked.

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