If you’ve spent time on social media in the last week, you probably noticed the outpouring of frustration on the part of unhappy of Bank of America customers and lots of folks generally concerned with the growing divide in access to affordable financial product and services. When Bank of America announced that they were switching e-banking customers into accounts that require a $12 monthly fee unless they have a direct deposit of $250 or more or maintain a minimum daily balance of at least $1500—their “bank for the people” reputation took a hit.
To some, $12 a month may not seem that significant- some of us drop that on take-out coffee in two days. But when you’re supporting a family of four at the Federal Poverty Line of $30,750—as 20 percent of the families in the United States do—every dollar counts. With an income of $30,750, your weekly average budget of $640 unlikely satisfies the minimum direct deposit or daily balances required to avoid the fees. And then there are the wage gaps and unemployment challenges faced by many minorities in the USA.
This means that already under-resourced people are finding themselves priced out of and excluded from basic banking services like checking and saving. They simply can’t afford the fees. So where will people who can’t afford bank fees or maintain minimum balances go to deposit checks and secure emergency access to credit? Some will choose check cashiers and pay day lenders, handing over large percentages of their checks.
Others, however, will look for a community banks or credit union with a core commitment to financial inclusion. This is where we— and many of our allies—step in to support people who are typically excluded.
At Spring Bank our mission is to create access to financial prosperity for all people. We think every person deserves equal access to products and services they can afford and that are designed to build rather than deplete wealth. This fundamental for the bank and our B Corp business model and we demonstrate this in all we do—including our core banking products. In addition to small loans like our Credit Builder and Start Loan, created to help people save money and build credit—our checking accounts offer low-fee and no-fee options. This is what financial inclusion looks like.
Your bank has the power to exclude or include people from affordable access. And it’s your dollars at the right financial institution that foster inclusion. Now’s the time to move your money into a B Corp bank, a Community Development bank or a credit union. Move your money. Open an account with us. Check out what it means for us to be a B Corp Bank. Contact us at 718-879-5000 to learn more about our commitment to financial inclusion.
Sources: Wall Street Journal; National Center for Children in Poverty; Poverty USA; National Women’s Law Center