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The Ladder

A Blog from New America's Asset Building Program

Banking on the Future

Published:  September 15, 2010

Times are a changin’ for Bank on California.

Bank on California Director Eloy Villafranca said goodbye to the program’s coalition partners in a farewell letter last week as his tenure nears its end. Bank On was launched in 2008 by Governor Schwarzenegger with New America’s support.

Bank On Director Villafranca highlighted that despite coming shifts in state government, the future of the program depends on the strength of the coalitions behind it, and the work of its supporters to make it happen.

We can’t predict the future for Bank On, but the program’s continued success speaks for itself. Despite looming changes, Bank On keeps on keeping on.

Bank on Fresno will soon be expanding, courtesy of a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation, into SparkPoint Fresno, a collaborative financial services center to serve low and moderate income working families. The center plans to offer an array of complementary services such as foreclosure assistance, credit counseling, employment training, tax preparation, homeownership workshops and referrals to banking and savings programs. This will surely be of benefit to Fresno, which is home to some of the country’s highest unemployment, foreclosure and unbanked rates.

Bank on San Jose is launching a credit counseling program through the United Way of Silicon Valley, thanks to a grant from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Credit coaching classes will provide one-on-one support and education for community residents with poor credit histories.

And outside the Golden State, communities all over the country are taking notice of the success of Bank On programs. In Dallas, a Bank On campaign took off June 16. This month, 270,000 Dallas residents will receive banking and financial education information with their water bills, in English and Spanish. Bank on Indy in Indianapolis, which was established last October, had nearly reached its one-year goal of opening up 8,000 new accounts as of June 30.

The eagerness of those all around the county to begin Bank On initiatives is testament to the California program, which since its founding has resulted in over 100,000 new bank accounts opened, helping Californians on the path to financial security.

As Villafranca says, it’s the organizations and people who make up Bank On that have helped the program to meet and exceed the Governor’s expectations.

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