Fellowship Awarded to Expand Banking Efforts
United Way of Southwest Alabama and national nonprofit the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund) announced the award of a Fellowship to advance our region’s banking access efforts, including naming Katherine Pitman as Bank On South Alabama Fellow for a two-year term. Bank On South Alabama is one of five Bank On coalitions across the country whose work will be supported by this initiative.
The goal of CFE Fund’s Bank On program is to ensure that everyone has access to safe and affordable financial products and services. Local Bank On coalitions across the country, largely led by or working closely with local government, work to expand access to appropriate financial products and services to the more than 65 million people outside of the mainstream financial system who rely on alternative, costly financial services.
The national Bank On Fellowship Program provides funding to five Bank On coalitions to support a full-time staff position for two years — a “Fellow” — to lead coalition activities. It is the first national initiative focused on building a multi-city cohort of successful Bank On program coordinators, equipping them with the training, tools, and resources to make significant advancements in local banking access efforts while at the same time generating best practices for other coalitions around the country.
“I applaud the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund and Wells Fargo for investing in Mobilians’ financial success,” said Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson. ”This program will empower our citizens with essential services needed to make sound financial decisions that will support them throughout their lives and ensure economic self- sufficiency. “
The CFE Fund leads the national Bank On movement, supporting city coalitions working to connect individuals and families to the financial mainstream through partnerships between local governments, financial institutions, and community organizations.
“For millions of adults, meeting basic financial needs—like paying bills or depositing and using their paychecks—is a costly struggle,” said Jonathan Mintz, President and CEO of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. “Bank On coalitions across the country do critical work helping consumers access safe, affordable accounts, but often lack vital resources like staff leadership. We are proud to support Bank On South Alabama and their new Fellow Katherine Pitman in helping area residents connect to safe financial products.”
The Bank On South Alabama Fellow will be a member of the national Bank On Fellowship group comprised of four other Fellows who will work collaboratively to provide leadership and stimulate developments and advancement of the initiative in local banking access efforts.
Katherine Pitman will be an joining United Way of Southwest Alabama’s Community Impact department, led by Vice President of Community Impact Laurie Childers and will be based at their office located at 218 Saint Francis Street, Mobile, AL 36602. United Way of Southwest Alabama has been a long-time community partner and Steering Committee member in the Bank On South Alabama coalition. The coalition is led by Ashley Mabry, Trustmark Bank and Sandra Dunaway, Prichard Preparatory School, who work with the Steering Committee to provide structure, guidance and secure funding to support the Bank On initiative’s efforts.
“We have worked diligently to ensure that BOSA continues to have a positive impact in our communities and are thrilled to add Katherine to the leadership team,” said Mabry and Dunaway.
Pitman has a long history of philanthropic service in the Mobile area and is an active member in several local nonprofit organizations, including leadership positions in Rotary Club of Mobile, Alabama Coastal Foundation, and South Alabama Coalition of Non Profits. She most recently held the Executive Director position at Mobile United.
“I am excited about the opportunity to take the Bank On South Alabama initiative to the next level,” said Pitman. “I look forward to working with our financial institution and community partners to continue to promote safe and affordable financial products and services.”
The Bank On Fellows initiative is part of Wells Fargo’s $1 million investment to support the national Bank On movement.
”Strengthening the economic viability of our communities is one of Wells Fargo’s corporate social responsibility priorities,” said Shelley Marquez, Wells Fargo Senior Vice President and Community Relations Senior Manager. “We believe it’s important to focus on creating long-term solutions to the obstacles that keep many people out of the financial mainstream and are proud to sponsor the Bank On Fellowship program, which will allow coalitions to devote full-time resources to this critical work.”
Wells Fargo’s investment in the Bank On initiative also supports additional CFE Fund resources to local coalitions, boosting its efforts to expand access to safe and affordable financial products and services. The CFE Fund provides funding and technical assistance to help coalitions improve availability of appropriate low-cost, low-fee transactional bank accounts that are certified as meeting the Bank On National Account Standards.
The Bank On National Account Standards identify critical product features for appropriate bank or credit union accounts, making it easier for local coalitions across the country to connect consumers to accounts that meet their needs. Core account features include low costs, no overdraft fees, robust transaction capabilities such as a debit or prepaid card, and online bill pay.
To learn more about Bank On and the National Account Standards click here, or follow the conversation on Twitter @CFEfund #BankOn.
About the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund)
The CFE Fund supports municipal efforts to improve the financial stability of households by leveraging opportunities unique to local government. By translating cutting edge experience with large scale programs, research, and policy in cities of all sizes, the CFE Fund assists mayors and other local leaders to identify, develop, fund, implement, and research pilots and programs that help families build assets and make the most of their financial resources. For more information, please visit www.cfefund.org or follow us on Twitter at @CFEFund.
About Bank On
Bank On coalitions are locally-led partnerships between local public officials; city, state, and federal government agencies; financial institutions; and community organizations that work together to help improve the financial stability of unbanked and underbanked individuals and families in their communities. The Bank On national initiative builds on a grassroots movement of dozens of coalitions in cities across the country, offering national account standards, capacity grant support, pilot funding, and a learning community. These first-generation banking access programs have already connected hundreds of thousands of people to safe and affordable accounts. In addition to connecting unbanked individuals to accounts, Bank On programs raise public awareness, target outreach to the unbanked, and expand access to financial education. Visit www.cfefund.org/bankon for more information.
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 8,400 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 42 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 268,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 25 on Fortune’s 2017 rankings of America’s largest corporations. The Chronicle of Philanthropy ranked Wells Fargo No. 3 on its most recent list of the top corporate cash philanthropists. In 2016, Wells Fargo donated $281.3 million to 14,900 nonprofits and Wells Fargo team members volunteered 1.73 million hours with 50,000 nonprofits. Wells Fargo’s corporate social responsibility efforts are focused on three priorities: economic empowerment in underserved communities, environmental sustainability, and advancing diversity and social inclusion. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.