Banks have been skewered by the public, the press and politicians for nickel-and-diming consumers with fees, so it's only fair that they are given credit when they step up and do the right thing.

In New York City, five banks and five credit unions are participating in a city-run program aimed at moving unbanked households into the financial mainstream. The banks are offering what's called the NYCSafeStart Bank Account, an ATM-based transactional account that New Yorkers can open with as little as a few dollars. Best of all, participants do not get hit with any overdraft fees for at least two years.

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