Miami-Dade County Chairman Jean Monestime’s Council for Prosperity Initiatives and United Way of Miami-Dade launched a major new partnership involving more than a dozen financial institutions to help low-income families in Miami-Dade County keep more of what they earn by steering them into the financial mainstream.
Bank On Miami kicked off on Feb. 23, as representatives from various banks, United Way, Branches Inc. and others provided unbanked and underbanked residents with information on second-chance bank accounts, financial coaching services and other resources at the Stephen P. Clark Center in downtown Miami. Bank On Miami looks to reach unbanked and underbanked residents who frequently use expensive, unnecessary and sometimes predatory financial services and connects them with financial coaching and safe, affordable and innovative financial products and solutions.
“This is another step toward elevating more families out of poverty and helping close the massive income inequality gap we have in this county,” Chairman Monestime said. “Having a bank account is a fundamental building block of financial stability. It’s the first step in saving, planning for the future, building credit and climbing the economic ladder.”
Leading local, national and international banks have partnered with Bank On Miami and have committed to developing low-fee, low minimum monthly balance accounts, loan/credit options and/or second chance accounts. Partner financial institutions include: Bank of America, BankUnited, Brickell Bank, Chase Bank, City National Bank, Dade County Federal Credit Union, Florida Community Bank, International Finance Bank, Regions Bank, Sabadell United Bank, SunTrust Bank, TotalBank, US Century Bank, Valley National Bank and Wells Fargo Bank have all signed on as Bank On Miami participants.
“We are working with the banks as well as the residents to break down the barriers to banking and provide as much knowledge and information as possible about the process,” County Commissioner Barbara Jordan said.
In addition to providing safe, affordable financial products, Bank On Miami partners will provide financial coaching and advice to help residents get back on their feet. A new website, BankOnMiami.org, has been created to serve as a clearinghouse for residents looking for information about available financial services and education. Residents can visit BankOnMiami.org or call 211 or 311 to get a free financial health assessment and personalized financial coaching that meets their specific needs.
"We cannot have prosperity without financial stability and education. Bank On Miami will bring those who are unbanked or underbanked out of the shadows so they may enhance their economic standing and quality of life through trustworthy banking services and financial education,” County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava said.
The FDIC estimates that more than 15 percent of South Florida households are unbanked, and approximately 20 percent of households are underbanked. These residents, who tend to be low-income, rely on alternative financial services such as pawn shops, check cashing stores and payday lenders, which only exacerbate their financial situation by eating away at their already limited funds.Reducing the County’s income gap has been a focus of Chairman Monestime’s legislative and community partnership efforts since being elected Commission Chairman. One of his first actions was to set up the Council for Prosperity Initiatives to identify ways to expand economic opportunities.
To view the Feb. 23 Bank On Miami launch press conference, click here.