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City Launches “Bank on Burque” Initiative for Safe Banking Access

Bank On Burque will support unbanked residents in Albuquerque by increasing the availability of – and connecting residents to – safe and affordable banking products

June 18, 2021

 ALBUQUERQUE — The City of Albuquerque is kicking off its new Bank on Burque initiative to advance banking access efforts in Albuquerque. Bank On Burque will work to build residents’ financial stability by connecting them to safe and affordable banking products certified as meeting the Bank On National Account Standards (2021 – 2022). The City is partnering on the initiative with community organizations including Prosperity Works, WESST, Albuquerque Community Foundation, NMCAN and other.

Banking access is critical to financial stability – a basic banking account is an important first step into the financial mainstream, depositing earnings securely, paying bills efficiently, accessing credit, and saving for emergencies and the future. Nearly a third of households in Albuquerque are unbanked, meaning they rely on costly alternative financial services – like check cashers, payday lenders, and pawns shops – for routine financial transactions. They are half as likely to be able to save for emergencies as those with an account, and can spend more than $40,000 over a lifetime in fees to access their money. Bank On Burque will work to expand access to safe and affordable Bank On certified accounts to these residents outside of the mainstream financial system.

“Nearly one in three households in our town do not have access to banking services,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “We created this initiative to push for more equitable banking opportunities so that families can achieve financial stability and don’t have to rely on expensive and sometimes exploitative financial services.”

Bank On Burque joins 85 local Bank On coalitions across the country whose work is supported by the national nonprofit Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund’s (CFE Fund’s) Bank On initiative, which works to ensure that everyone has access to safe and affordable bank and credit union accounts. 

“Tens of millions of people who can least afford it are spending billions of dollars to do what many of us do for free without even thinking about it – pay bills or make purchases, safely and automatically deposit and access income and payments, and save.” said Jonathan Mintz, President and CEO of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. “Particularly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Bank On coalitions across the country have done critical work helping consumers access certified mainstream bank and credit union accounts to receive stimulus payments and other emergency supports and manage their finances. We’re excited about what Bank On coalitions can accomplish, and are proud to add our support to Bank On Burque’s critical work helping people access safe, affordable accounts.”

Banks and credit unions with a Bank On certified account available in Albuquerque include:

  • Bank of America
  • Chase
  • Discover (digital and online only)
  • First Convenience Bank
  • Nusenda Credit Union
  • Rio Grande Credit Union
  • US Bank
  • U.S. Eagle Federal Credit Union
  • Wells Fargo

Bank on Burque is the City of Albuquerque’s third financial empowerment program in partnership with the CFE Fund, following the Consumer Financial Protection Initiative and the Financial Navigators program. Albuquerque households who are struggling financially to contact one of our trained navigators to connect to resources, including rental and utility assistance funds. Call 505-768-4242 or visit cabq.gov/finnav to get connected.

“We know that when people have access to affordable checking services, they have secure access to their funds earlier and are not reliant on costly check cashing services,” said Delma Madrigal, Bank on Burque Project Manager for the City of Albuquerque. “We are proud of the coalition of banks and credit unions, both national and local, who have joined our effort to increase economic inclusion in the city of Albuquerque.”

 

The CFE Fund leads the national Bank On movement, supporting 85 local coalitions working to connect individuals and families – the over 36 million residents currently un- or underbanked – to the financial mainstream through partnerships between local governments, financial institutions, and community organizations. Through the Bank On initiative, the CFE Fund provides resources and technical assistance to local coalitions, boosting their efforts to grow the availability of low-cost, low-fee bank and credit union accounts certified as meeting the Bank On National Account Standards and connect residents to these accounts. Core account features outlined in the Standards include low costs, no overdraft fees, robust transaction capabilities such as a debit or prepaid card, and online bill pay. Bank On certified accounts are already offered by nearly 100 banks and credit unions across the country at over 32,500 branches, comprising nearly 50% of the U.S. deposit market share.           

 

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About the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund)

The CFE Fund supports municipal efforts to improve the financial stability of households by leveraging opportunities unique to local government. By translating cutting-edge experience with large scale programs, research, and policy in cities of all sizes, the CFE Fund assists mayors and other local leaders to identify, develop, fund, implement, and research pilots and programs that help families build assets and make the most of their financial resources. The CFE Fund is currently working in over 100 cities and counties representing 75 million people, and has disbursed over $52 million to city governments and their partners to support these efforts. For more information, please visit www.cfefund.org  or follow us on Twitter at @CFEFund.

 

About Bank On 

Bank On coalitions are locally-led partnerships between local public officials; city, state, and federal government agencies; financial institutions; and community organizations that work together to help improve the financial stability of unbanked and underbanked individuals and families in their communities. The Bank On national initiative builds on a grassroots movement of close to 90 coalitions in cities across the country, offering national account standards, capacity grant support, pilot funding, and a learning community. In addition to connecting unbanked individuals to accounts, Bank On programs raise public awareness, target outreach to the unbanked, and expand access to financial education. Visit www.cfefund.org/bankon for more information, or follow the conversation on Twitter @CFEfund #BankOn.