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CUs banks team up to help unbanked in Dubuque
DUBUQUE, Iowa (7/21/11)--A new coalition of credit unions, banks and community groups has organized to improve the financial futures of Dubuque, Iowa, residents who lack traditional checking accounts.
Click to view larger image Bank On Dubuque organizers met Monday to accept a proclamation from the Dubuque (Iowa) City Council deeming July as "Bank On Dubuque Month." From left: Kevin Shields, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.; Bob Upton, DuTrac Community CU; Tami Rechtenbach and David Klavitter, Dupaco Community CU; Eric Dregne, Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque; Paula Connors, Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque; and Joe Gonzalez, Health Services CU. (Photo provided by Dupaco Community CU)
The initiative, "Bank on Dubuque" or "Bank On DBQ," offers low- and moderate-income residents free or low-cost checking accounts and access to free financial education. A credit union or bank can help residents avoid costly alternative financial services and protect and build their assets. The "Bank On DBQ" accounts require no minimum balance and offer a second chance for people with previous trouble with banking. Fraud is the exception. Accounts feature:
* No or low opening deposits, monthly maintenance fees or minimum balances; * Direct deposit of paychecks or monthly benefit checks; * Free ATM/debit cards; and * Access to online banking, bill pay and money transfers.
Participants also have access to financial education, including learning how to budget, paying bills on time, or saving for a car or their first home. Eight participating financial institutions--including four credit unions--are funding the effort, with in-kind operational support from the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. The credit unions include Alliant CU, Dupaco Community CU, DuTrac Community CU and Health Services CU. Formed in 2010, the Dubuque effort is based on a national model called "Bank On Cities Campaign," sponsored by the National League of Cities. "Bank on DBQ" is the first such program in Iowa. Iowa has 4.7% unbanked and 16.8% underbanked households, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. With 22,560 households, Dubuque has about 1,000 households that would be unbanked and 4,000 underbanked. The program's 12-month goal is to open 500 new Bank On DBQ accounts, with 80% still open at the end of that period. Organizers hope at least 20% of new clients will participate in the financial education and training, facilitated by the Iowa State University Extension.

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