Goodwill receives $40,000 grant for ‘Bank On’ program

Bank On offers safe and affordable checking accounts, financial literacy supports for employees and community members in Goodwill programs

Published Tuesday, February 5, 2019

SARASOTA, FL – Goodwill Manasota recently received a grant of $40,000 from the Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund in order to implement the “Bank On” program integration for its more than 700 employees as well as veterans and Job Connection customers served by Goodwill. The Bank On program connects people who are unbanked and underbanked to safe and affordable checking accounts to help people get on the path to financial stability.

The Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund has developed national standards for bank accounts that are safe, affordable, and fully transactional. These accounts do not allow overdraft, cost $5 or less per month, and offer functionality features like free online bill pay. In support of the program, Bank On Suncoast will provide online training materials that help individuals learn why it’s good to have a bank account, how to choose a bank account, and how to use online bill pay services.

By using a reliable and affordable banking product, community members can save more, prepare for crisis, have an entry point for a path to savings, and know their money is safe and insured. Additionally, they can build a credit score, open lines of credit and move toward life goals such as home ownership.

In 2008, The Brookings Institute reported that individuals without any bank accounts spend an average of $40,000 to manage their finances over the course of their lifetime. In its 2019 scorecard, Prosperity Now noted that 17.8 percent of households in Sarasota County are either unbanked or underbanked. And a multi-city CFE Fund evaluation of financial counseling clients found that those who were unbanked were less than half as likely to successfully save money, even working repeatedly with a professional financial counselor to do so, than those who were banked.

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), reasons a household might be “unbanked” include not having enough money for the minimum balance, distrust or lack of knowledge about financial institutions, high or unpredictable fees, or ID, credit or banking history problems. Using check cashers, payday lenders or pawn shops can further slow financial progress. By being unbanked, people pay too much for basic transactions and have difficulty building savings and assets.

Financial institutions with certified accounts include Bank of America, Cadence Bank, Chase, Citibank (online only), Florida Community Bank, Iberia Bank, and Wells Fargo. Goodwill case managers will identify customers who are unbanked or underbanked, provide one-on-one training, and assist those who are ready to open a checking account by accompanying them to a bank that has an account which meets the Bank On National Account Standards.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer this powerful program to our team members and the community members we serve. Earning a paycheck is just the first step to financial stability; having access to safe, affordable banking is a crucial step in helping people to budget, establish credit and save for the future,” said Goodwill Manasota vice president Margie Genter. “We are so grateful to the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund for the generous grant and Bank On Suncoast – which is sponsored by United Way Suncoast – for providing resources and training to help those in our community who are unbanked or underbanked.”

Bank On is a grassroots movement with the goal of ensuring everyone has access to safe and affordable banking products and services. United Way Suncoast is the local partner for Bank On, doing outreach and providing information to help engage local organizations, their employees and clients. “Bank On Suncoast” was launched in 2018, housed under United Way Suncoast. They are assisting with the opening of Bank On certified accounts and banking technical assistance, co-hosting FDIC Money Smart “Train the Trainer” sessions, and offering Bank On 101 training sessions.

                For more information about Goodwill, go to experiencegoodwill.org or call 941-355-2721.

 Photo ID: (From l-r) Jon Baratta of Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, Linlin Liang of United Way Suncoast, I-Hsing Sun of Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, and Margie Genter and Dana Knuuti of Goodwill Manasota

 About Goodwill Manasota

Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With philanthropic donations and revenue generated by the sales of donated goods, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities, veterans, seniors, and those with other barriers to employment by providing jobs, job skills training, and free career services. For more information or for a listing of locations, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org or call 941-355-2721.