Bank on Boston partnership to support unbanked and underbanked Boston residents
As part of the Walsh Administration’s work to reduce racial and economic disparities in banking access, Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor’s Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) today announced that its Bank On Boston initiative has partnered with USALLIANCE Financial to design a free, easy-to-use checking account that meets the needs of Boston’s unbanked and underbanked residents.
With the creation of Dora Everyday Checking, USALLIANCE Financial becomes the first regional financial institution to meet Bank On national account standards for safety and affordability. Among these standards is the elimination of overdraft fees, which disproportionately affect low-income households. A recent study found that more than 80% of the nearly $12 billion in overdraft fees charged by large banks in 2019 were shouldered by just 9% of account holders.
“One of the most basic requirements for financial security and building wealth is having a safe place to bank without the fear of unfair penalties and fees,” said Mayor Walsh. “We thank USALLIANCE Financial for its partnership in providing Boston residents with a banking product that is accessible, fair, and free.”
Mayor Walsh launched Bank On Boston in 2017 to connect Boston residents with reliable financial services that can help them save, grow, and access their money. Approximately 10% of Boston residents do not have a checking or savings account. Many of these residents may rely instead on costly check-cashing services, which proliferate in low-income communities and communities of color. Roxbury, Dorchester, and East Boston account for 57% of Boston’s check-cashing locations but only 12% of the city’s commercial bank branches. Bank On Boston focuses on alleviating these banking disparities to ensure equal access to financial stability.
A full-service credit union based in New England and the Mid-Atlantic, USALLIANCE Financial participates in a network of more than 40 ATM locations throughout Boston, including at retail sites such as 7-Elevens. USALLIANCE Financial’s new app-based account, Dora Everyday Checking, comes with no hidden fees and features instant debit card freeze-ability, free ATM access, and early pay with direct deposit. The app is available in English and Spanish.
"It's been a wonderful experience to partner with Bank On Boston as their commitment to providing inclusive financial products and services to underserved communities aligns so well with the product and mission of USALLIANCE Financial," said Kristi Kenworthy, Managing Director of Bank Dora, a division of USALLIANCE Financial. "Our Dora application is paving the way with a completely digital, bilingual, free checking account to help people begin asset building. I'm excited to see what the future holds as we work together with Bank On Boston in helping the underbanked."
Since its inception, Bank On Boston has collaborated with financial institutions to provide residents with account options that meet safety and affordability standards. Currently, nine bank and credit union partners offer products that meet Basic Banking for Massachusetts standards for low-cost checking and savings accounts. USALLIANCE Financial is one of three institutions that also meet Bank On national account standards, a set of 15 benchmarks for safety and affordability that include the elimination of overdraft fees.
In addition to connecting residents with non-predatory financial services, Bank On Boston also raises public awareness of mainstream banking, expands access to financial education, and connects residents to other OFE programs. The initiative is led by the Bank On Boston Coalition – a partnership of 34 financial institutions, regulators, and community-based organizations – which now includes USALLIANCE Financial.
The Bank On Boston Coalition is one of 80 state and local coalitions that make up the national Bank On movement, led by the nonprofit Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund. With the addition of Dora Everyday Checking, accounts meeting Bank On national account standards are now available at over 28,000 branches in all 50 states and Washington, DC; financial institutions with Bank On certified accounts make up over 45% of the national deposit market share.
“Bank On Boston is doing critical work to help Bostonians enter the financial mainstream – this is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, as consumers need to access and manage their money, including emergency payments like stimulus and unemployment, safely and affordably,” said David Rothstein, Senior Principal at the CFE Fund. “USALLIANCE Financial’s Dora account offers Boston residents who are looking to improve their finances a safe, affordable, and truly useful mainstream banking product; we thank USALLIANCE Financial for offering this terrific account and being at the forefront of national banking access efforts.”About the Mayor’s Office of Financial Empowerment
Mayor Martin J. Walsh created the Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) to implement programs and strategies that connect Boston residents with skills and resources to improve their financial empowerment and advance their economic equity. The OFE was created to develop strategies and policies to impact the racial wealth gap and help to build community and individual wealth in low to moderate (LMI) and communities of color.About USALLIANCE Financial
USALLIANCE Financial is a full-service not-for-profit financial institution that offers a full range of checking, savings, credit cards, and loan products as well as various online banking services. The Dora Everyday Checking application is a cutting edge digital product offering with the guiding principle that everyone deserves a high quality checking account experience. Our members have access to 6,000 branch facilities and 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs across the country. USALLIANCE is an industry leader in providing electronic services to members, such as online, mobile and tablet account and loan opening, Apple Pay, checking balances on the AppleWatch, and more. For additional information on the Dora Everyday Checking account visit: www.bankdora.com