BMO Harris brings mainstream banking to financially underserved consumers
While the U.S. federal government prepares to send the Child Tax Credit to 40 million families starting July 15, the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund) announced today that there are now more than 100 bank and credit union accounts nationally certified as meeting the Bank On National Account Standards. BMO Harris’ Smart Money account is included in this small group of U.S. banks leading the way in removing barriers to inclusion in the mainstream financial system for underserved communities.
Bank On certification is awarded to accounts that allow everyone to access safe and affordable financial products and services, expanding access to the almost 36 million people outside the mainstream financial system. Bank On standards include low costs, no overdraft fees, transaction capabilities such as a debit or prepaid card, and online bill pay.
“As the White House pushes out the Child Tax Credit and other large-scale federal payments to millions of families across the country, a safe and affordable banking account is critical for receiving and using these funds faster and without fees,” said Jonathan Mintz, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, which leads Bank On certification.
75% of consumers opening Bank On certified accounts at reporting institutions were new banking customers according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Additionally, Bank On is making banking more inclusive, with more Bank On branches available in areas with more people of color: close to 60 percent of Bank On certified accounts were opened by customers in areas with 50+ percent minority population.
“BMO is committed to removing barriers to inclusion in the financial system, which is why we are thrilled that BMO Smart Money is among the over 100 Bank On certified accounts so far. Affordable and convenient access to banking products, as well as the financial advice and guidance that come with those accounts at BMO, are critical to the real financial progress of communities historically underserved by financial institutions,” said Paul Dilda, BMO Harris Bank’s U.S. Head of Consumer Strategy.
“More than 100 financial institution partners have stepped up to offer Bank On certified accounts, from the country’s smallest credit unions to the largest banks,” Mintz said. “These affordable, secure, and productive accounts, and the close to 90 Bank On coalitions across the country, are a powerful tool to bring more vulnerable consumers into the financial mainstream.”
BMO’s Smart Money account and others with Bank On certification are being promoted by the FDIC, IRS, CDC and other federal agencies connecting people to claiming or depositing their Economic Impact (stimulus) and other emergency payments. In addition, the FDIC’s #GetBanked campaign, emphasizing the importance of safe accounts, directs consumers to Bank On certified products.
The number of institutions with certified accounts continues to grow. The American Bankers Association recently interviewed Dilda for its podcast, journal and other member communications as part of its push for more members to offer a product that meets the Bank On standards.