Banking program will help those without accounts or reliable finances

Twelve banks and credit unions in northwest Washington have teamed up to provide banking services for people who have never had an account before or have had account problems in the past.

The group aims to open at least 100 new accounts this year, and its members say the initiative will offer a second chance for people who have mismanaged accounts in the past and are denied account access and forced to rely on high-cost financial products, such as check cashing.

“This program has the potential to save people a lot of money,” Anjali Englund, outreach and development coordinator at the Opportunity Council, which is helping coordinate the initiative, said in a press release. “A former client of ours was spending almost 10 percent of her income simply to access her own money by using check cashing and prepaid card services. She opened an account through Bank On North Sound and now is using the money she used to spend on fees to help pay for school.”

Bank On North Sound is one of eight Bank On initiatives in Washington.

More information can be found online at www.bankonwashington.org/north-sound, or by contacting Brynn Smith, AmeriCorps VISTA member with the Opportunity Council, at 360-734-5121, Ext. 232.

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