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New Partnership Formed to Pursue Financial Wellness for All Pittsburghers

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The City of Pittsburgh, Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, and Neighborhood Allies have formed a partnership to pursue financial wellness for all Pittsburghers and to support the Bank On Greater Pittsburgh initiative.

The partners listed above, along with technical assistance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), have formed the Financial Inclusion Working Group through Neighborhood Allies’ Asset Building Network. This group receives support from Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund to strengthen the local Bank On initiative.

“We’re very proud to partner with Neighborhood Allies and the Urban League to help deliver financial inclusion services that will help all Pittsburghers achieve their financial goals.  Because of the Urban League’s experience with the Bank On program, and their over 100 year history of serving low and moderate income Pittsburghers, we know they can help us reach people who can benefit from these services.  And, through our growing partnership with Neighborhood Allies and its Asset Building Network, Cities for Financial Empowerment, and our regional FDIC office, we’re happy to provide the technical support that will help ensure service delivery is in line with best practices.”

-Mayor Bill Peduto

The main goal of Bank On Greater Pittsburgh is to increase awareness of and access to affordable, sustainable bank accounts for low- and moderate-income individuals and families, especially those unbanked and underbanked. In Pittsburgh, that’s nearly 30% of all households who either do not have any accounts with a financial institution (unbanked), or may have an account but still utilize non-traditional tools (underbanked), such as payday loans, alternative lending institutions, or pre-paid debit cards. Obtaining a bank account is often the first step in making financial progress.

In the U.S., there are 9 million unbanked households, and the reasons vary. According to a recent FDIC survey,[1] 58% said they didn’t have enough money to open or maintain an account; 34% said they distrust or dislike banks; and 31% said they were concerned about high or unpredictable account fees. However, using alternative financial services has significant costs – the average annual cost to each unbanked person is $198.83 for check cashing and money order services, and jumps to $497.33 for those using a prepaid debit card without direct deposit.

An evaluation of five cities’ Financial Empowerment Centers, which serve households with an average income of $21,000, many of whom are unbanked and lack a credit score, showed that a bank account was the most significant indicator of increased savings and credit scores.[2]

Over the next year, the Financial Inclusion Working Group will encourage local financial institutions to adopt the National Account Standards for safe and sustainable accounts for those previously unbanked and underbanked. Look for a new website in the coming weeks, too.

For more information, please reach out to Sarah Dieleman Perry at 412-471-3727 ext. 212 or at



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