Advantage Credit Counseling Service is excited to be a partner of a new program called ‘Bank On Greater Pittsburgh’ or BOGP for short. Bank On Greater Pittsburgh partners are committed to helping you and your family take the first step towards financial security. This initiative is designed to encourage unbanked and under-banked individuals to consider opening bank accounts with traditional financial institutions, as opposed to continuing to rely on check-cashing or other alternative methods of banking.
The average unbanked (a person who has no checking/savings account) in Pennsylvania will pay approximately $800 a year and over $40,000 over a working lifetime in check cashing fees and money orders. Allegheny County currently has 5.9% or roughly 30,950 unbanked households and 17.4% or 91,277 under-banked; the City of Pittsburgh alone has 10.1% or 14,012 unbanked and 19.9% or 27,209 under-banked households. Those are some scary statistics right there.
“The values emphasized by the Bank On Greater Pittsburgh program align with our focus on economic self-reliance, which is the benchmark measurement for the mission of the Urban League Movement,” according to Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh President & CEO Esther Bush. “BOGP helps people become more self-reliant through better use of their hard-earned dollars.”
Endorsed by the National League of Cities and identified by Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto as one of the top 100 items on his agenda, BOGP is modeled after the successful Bank On San Francisco effort that has provided banking services to a large populace of unbanked and under-banked individuals living in San Francisco. BOGP is a collaborative effort of the Urban League, City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, the United Way of Allegheny County, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, nine financial institutions, and numerous community agencies, such as Advantage Credit Counseling Service.
Some of the BOGP partners include Century Heritage Federal Credit Union, Citizens Bank, Dollar Bank, Fifth and Third Bank, First Commonwealth Bank, First Niagara, Hill District Federal Credit Union, Huntington Bank, and PNC Bank.
Heather Murray, our Manager of Regulatory Compliance and Education here at Advantage CCS had this to say about BOGP, “Bank On Greater Pittsburgh is a wonderful opportunity to connect the unbanked and under-banked with the ability to open checking and savings accounts. Providing access to banking products for underserved populations helps to improve financial stability. Maintaining a checking and savings account is a basic money management tool that helps consumers balance their budget and plan for future expenses or saving goals. Providing consumers with financial literacy education and the opportunity to become banked will improve their long term financial picture. We are excited to be a part of this collaboration between financial institutions and nonprofit organizations with the goal to affect change within the communities we all serve.”
For more information and to learn more about the Bank On Greater Pittsburgh initiative, please visit www.bankongreaterpittsburgh.com or follow us on Social Media for news and updates on the BOGP program. Thank you!