New program offers starter bank accounts to Treasure Valley residents

newsroom@idahostatesman.comJuly 30, 2013 

Treasure Valley residents who don't have checking accounts will soon have access to starter accounts and financial education.

Under a collaboration with the Idaho Department of Finance and 10 financial institutions, the United Way of Treasure Valley has created the "Bank On Treasure Valley" project that launches Aug. 1.

The program requires consumers to take five financial-education classes — five to eight hours total — before opening a checking account with a participating bank or credit union. The account fees will range from free to $7 per month, with varying services associated with them, said a United Way of Treasure Valley spokesman. The classes would help consumers make decisions about which account is best for them.

The United Way of Treasure Valley said the average person without a bank account spends 10 percent of net income on alternative financial services.

"Without a checking account, individuals and families may have limited employment opportunities, have difficulty managing finances and paying bills, and struggle to build savings," said Nora Carpenter, CEO and president at United Way of Treasure Valley. "It's a cycle that's incredibly difficult to emerge from."

The partners in the program are:

  • United Way of Treasure Valley
  • Washington Trust Bank
  • U.S. Bank
  • Mountain West Bank
  • KeyBank
  • Idaho Independent Bank
  • Banner Bank
  • DL Evans Bank
  • ICON Credit Union
  • Simplot Employees Credit Union
  • Wells Fargo
  • Idaho Department of Finance

Visit BankOnIdaho.org to learn more.

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