The Heart of Florida United Way (HFUW), in collaboration with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Florida Prosperity Partnership, announced the launch of Bank On Greater Orlando, a public-private partnership among the area’s regional financial institutions and community-based organizations aimed at increasing the financial stability of the “unbanked” and “underbanked.”
Nearly one-third of Orlando residents are either unbanked (no checking or savings account) or underbanked (have an account, but frequently use alternative financial services, like check-cashing). It’s estimated that a full-time worker without a bank account spends $40,000 over the course of a lifetime just to cash paychecks. In Orlando, 9.6 percent of households don’t have bank accounts – surpassing the national average of 7.7 percent. Likewise, 22.2 percent are underbanked – topping the national average of 17.9 percent. This equates to 30,249 households in Orlando alone.
“Through our focus on improving financial stability, we are proud to support Bank On Greater Orlando,” said Robert H. (Bob) Brown, HFUW president and CEO. “Helping families increase their stability through financial literacy programs enables them to spend smarter and build savings, which strengthens our overall local economy.”
Bank On Greater Orlando was modeled after the Bank On Florida blueprint. The Bank On program has spread throughout the country and is based on a collaborative effort with local communities and their financial institutions, local governments, and community-based and nonprofit organizations, like the Heart of Florida United Way.
“Helping our families and residents keep more of their own money in their own pockets is important to me,” said Orlando Mayor Dyer. “This program will connect our residents with financial institutions who can provide assistance tailored to their specific needs and help them to achieve financial stability and independence.”
Several HFUW board members represent financial institutions that are members of Florida Prosperity Partnership, which focuses on improving financial situations for Floridians in the low-to-moderate income bracket. They include Fifth Third Bank, SunTrust, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo.
“A successful relationship starts when a financially educated client is able to choose from a variety of checking and savings account options,” said Bill Mills, Bank On Florida Director. “This initiative provides families with reliable choices being offered by banks and credit unions that care about the communities in which they operate.”