The Bank On program is partnering with several regional banks and the city of Atlanta to expand its services for unbanked and underbanked consumers next year.
Bank On plans to work with as many as 15 financial institutions in April to expand its program. It has already reached agreements with Regions Bank, Wells Fargo and SunTrust.
Bank On will also partner with local community banks, including the $425 million-asset Citizens Trust Bank, the $529 million-asset BankSouth and 1st Choice Credit Union.
“Bank On Atlanta will provide practical financial skills that will enable residents and small businesses to manage their finances and plan for the future,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said in a statement.
Bank On has formed programs in dozens of U.S. cities, including Chicago, Denver and Houston. Bank On helps low-income consumers avoid the costly fees and high interest rates associated with payday lenders and check cashers, the city of Atlanta said in a news release.
Each participating bank or credit union will staff branches with employees who can help consumers sign up for Bank On-related products and services, such as a checking account with low or zero monthly fees and no overdraft fees. Bank On will also help train bank employees to provide financial education and counseling.
Bank On plans to work with community groups, such as the United Way and the Atlanta Community Food Bank, to spread the word about the newly available financial products, said Terica Joy Black, a project manager in the Atlanta mayor’s office.