Bank On Oregon Recruits Credit Unions to Help Under-Banked Consumers

More than four percent of Oregon’s households have no access to checking or savings accounts and 14.4 percent are under-banked, according to a 2011 FDIC study. As a result, those families may be needlessly paying thousands of dollars in fees for high-cost products offered by check-cashing services or payday lenders.

Bank on Oregon, a collaborative effort by consumer advocates, state and local governments, community organizations and financial institutions is pooling resources to make consumers aware of safe and affordable alternatives, such as credit unions.

“We need the participation of credit unions to make this effort a success,” says David Tatman, administrator of the Division of Finance and Corporate Securities, a division of the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services. “We want to ensure there are a variety of safe and affordable products available on the Bank On Oregon website to fit the needs of Oregonians.”

Bank On Oregon sent a letter to the state’s financial institutions asking for their support. In addition to community outreach, Bank On Oregon’s website will market affordable products and financial education opportunities to under-banked households, and connect them to financial institutions.

“Participating credit unions would agree to offer safe and affordable products, help us market them to consumers who need them, and let us know how many customers are using them,” says Tatman. “We will list information about each participating financial institution and their products on the Bank On Oregon website.”

A Bank On Oregon information packet can be found here. Interested credit unions are invited to contact Brain Stewart, steering committee chair, by July 31.

Questions about this story? Contact Lynn Heider: 503.350.2225, lheider@nwcua.org.

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