American Bankers Association President and CEO Rob Nichols today highlighted the importance of Bank On Certified Accounts as a way to promote financial inclusion. “Have access to bank accounts [and]Banking products are the cornerstone – the essential ingredient – of a secure financial future, ”Nichols said at a conference hosted by the CFE Fund, which developed the Bank On account standards. “If you are outside the banking system, you are terribly disadvantaged. . . . Our nation faces many challenges related to economic inequalities, and one of the solutions is to bring these women and men into the system. “
ABA has been a strong supporter of the Bank On movement and continues to encourage all banks to offer Bank On Certified accounts, which offer features such as low costs, online bill payment capabilities, no overdraft fees and certain transaction capabilities. According to CFE Fund, there are now more than 160 nationally certified Bank On accounts offered by banks and credit unions, representing 52% of the national deposit market; nearly half of all US bank branches offer a certified Bank On account.
Nichols pointed out that Bank On accounts offer an ideal solution to meet the roughly 7 million Americans who remain underbanked, instead of turning to untested government solutions, such as central bank digital currencies, postal accounts or retail accounts at the Federal Reserve.
“We have a great solution that works: to bring [consumers]into the banking system with a product that makes sense to them, rather than creating a separate government-run banking system to deal with inclusion, ”Nichols said. “Creating this secondary system doesn’t make sense to us. “
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Who also spoke at the event, acknowledged that there was growing interest in these proposals among some lawmakers, but stressed that “we have the initiative Bank On [that]really tackles that. It’s not something that’s just an idea, it just happens and it grows. He added that the initiative has benefits for both banks and consumers. “It helps both sides of the ledger – it helps the individual and their family, but it also helps the financial services side continue to grow their deposit base and customer base. FDIC President Jelena McWilliams and Acting Comptroller Michael Hsu also spoke at the conference, which continues tomorrow.