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District’s Bank on DC Program May Help Provide Faster Access to COVID-19 Stimulus Funds

Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Bowser Administration working with partners to encourage unbanked and underbanked residents to open accounts online

Washington, DC—The Bowser Administration, through the District’s Bank on DC Program, is working with federal and nonprofit partners to encourage District residents to open bank accounts online for faster access to their coronavirus (COVID-19) stimulus funds and related payments.

Wednesday, May 13 is the last day to submit bank account information to the Internal Revenue Service so stimulus payments can be received by direct deposit. However, a federal study has found millions of U.S. households are unbanked (without a checking or savings account) or underbanked (having a mainstream account but also using alternative financial services). Having little or no access to bank accounts can mean longer check processing times and surprise fees. Bank on DC, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the IRS, and the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund) are emphasizing it’s not too late to sign up for a bank account.

“Access to a basic transaction account is an important first step on the pathway to the middle class because it allows people to deposit and access funds more securely,” said Karima Woods, Acting Commissioner of the DC Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking. “Residents needing fast and secure access to stimulus funds still have time to open a Bank On account.”

Bank On accounts do not allow overdraft or insufficient funds fees; they cost $5 or less a month; and they can be used for direct deposit, purchases, and paying bills. Once an account is opened, account holders can input their information into the IRS Get My Payment portal (for tax filers) or in the Non-Filer portal.

“The Bank On Program ensures people do not have to wait, pay for, or potentially risk their health to get and use their stimulus funds and other emergency payments,” said Jonathan Mintz, President and CEO of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. “These safe, online accounts can help millions of consumers get their money faster and avoid struggling to cash the check in person or paying expensive fees.”

Below is a list of some banks that allow accounts to be opened online:

Visit bankondc.org; disb.dc.gov or covidbanking.joinbankon.org for details. Bank On DC is one of nearly 90 local Bank On coalitions across the country whose work is supported by the CFE Fund’s national Bank On initiative.

About the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund)

The CFE Fund leads the national Bank On movement, supporting close to 90 local coalitions working to connect individuals and families— the over 63 million residents currently un- or underbanked— to the financial mainstream through partnerships between local governments, financial institutions and community organizations. Through the Bank On initiative, the CFE Fund provides resources and technical assistance to local coalitions, boosting their efforts to grow the availability of low-cost, low-fee bank and credit union accounts certified as meeting the Bank On National Account Standards.

About DISB

The mission of the Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking (DISB) is three-fold: (1) cultivate a regulatory environment that protects consumers and attracts and retains financial services firms to the District; (2) empower and educate residents on financial matters; and (3) provide financing for District small businesses.