Mayor Kasim Reed Announces Bank on Atlanta Initiative

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

Mayor Kasim Reed announced the Bank on Atlanta Initiative. Bank on Atlanta is a financial access program that will focus on providing free or very low-cost banking products, along with financial education and financial counseling, to unbanked and underbanked residents in the City of Atlanta.   Launched in San Francisco in 2006, the national model of Bank On is currently operating in cities including Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Savannah and Washington D.C. 

“I am pleased to announce the creation of Bank on Atlanta. In partnership with local financial institutions and community organizations, Bank on Atlanta will provide practical financial skills that will enable residents and small businesses to manage their finances and plan for the future,” said Mayor Reed.  “Access to mainstream financial services and solid financial advice is critical to everyone’s economic success, and this initiative is a pivotal step forward in improving the financial health of our communities.”

Research shows that relying on alternative financial service providers such as check-cashing or payday lending establishments makes it hard for residents to rise out of poverty in our city.  The fees from these non-traditional establishments force individuals and families to pay a disproportionate amount to access money, pay bills and complete basic financial transactions.  Additionally, individuals who rely on such establishments are unable to build credit history. Bank on Atlanta will ensure that residents have the resources to manage their finances effectively. The program will also help participants become more aware of economic risks and growth opportunities. 

Partner organizations for the Bank on Atlanta initiative include: FDIC, Regions, Wells Fargo, SunTrust, Citizens Trust, 1st Choice Credit Union, Bank South, United Way of Greater Atlanta, Right Path, Atlanta Community Food Bank, GA Watch, Urban League of Greater Atlanta, Georgia Micro Enterprise Network, Community Sustainability Enterprise, Community Foundation for Financial Literacy/Right Path, LiftFund, JumpStart, On the Rise Financial Center, the Atlanta University Center Consortium, Exodus Financial Group, EverFi, Urban Asset Builders, A Scholar’s Touch, Westside Works, Center for Working Families, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs, Westside Economic Inclusion Collaborative, Choice Atlanta, the Department of Watershed Management, the Department of Corrections, Invest Atlanta, Welcoming Atlanta, the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative, and WorkSource Atlanta. 

The initiative will be co-chaired by Tai Roberson, Senior Community Development Officer for Wells Fargo and Venus Lockett, Founder and Chief Empowerment Officer of Asset Builders and Director of Money Smart Georgia Project. 

"I am honored to be the co-chair for Bank on Atlanta, and I am thankful to the City of Atlanta for leading this effort. I was once unbanked, and I know the toll it can take on someone’s dignity – and their pocketbook. By giving our unbanked residents quality financial products in addition to comprehensive fiscal education, this program will make a real impact in the lives of Atlantans,” said Venus Lockett, Founder and Chief Empowerment Officer of Asset Builders. 

“We are looking forward to launching the Bank on Atlanta initiative in April,” said Tai Roberson, Senior Community Development Officer for Wells Fargo. “It is a very important time because it will kick off Financial Literacy Month in the State of Georgia, and it will be a terrific opportunity for us to introduce the conversation about financial inclusion and financial stability for residents within the state and also within the City of Atlanta." 

The Bank on Atlanta initiative will begin with a pilot of several zip codes: 30303, 30310, 30312, 30313, 30314, 30315 and 30318.  Neighborhoods included in these zip codes are Pittsburgh, the Historic Westside, Downtown and Peoplestown. These zip codes were identified and chosen based on median household income. 

Bank on Atlanta is expected to launch in April of 2018.