Unbanked Urged To 'Bank On NewYork'

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NEW YORK - (01/10/05) -- More than two dozen credit unionsand banks joined with the State Department of Banking last week ina campaign aimed at enrolling the city's 800,000 unbanked in atraditional financial institution account. Through the month ofJanuary the credit unions and banks participating in the Bank onNew York campaign will use targeted advertising and consumereducation in multiple languages to promote low or no-fee accountsand distribute information about the Earned Income Tax Credit. Adswill be placed in credit union and bank lobbies, on bus sheltersand in newspapers throughout the city in English, Spanish andChinese. "The money saved by opening basic bank accounts andavoiding more expensive options, will help New Yorkers expand theirfinancial opportunities," said Meagan van Harte, spokesman forLower East Side People's FCU, one of the participants in theprogram. New York state law requires all credit unions and banks tooffer so-called lifeline accounts that meet certain criteria,including low minimum balances ($25), low monthly charges ($3maximum), and a minimum of eight free withdrawals (including ATMtransactions). Other credit unions participating include: BushwickCooperative FCU, Montauk CU, Union Settlement FCU, as well as theNational Federation of CDCUs.

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