The goal of the “Bank On” Columbia initiative is to provide Columbia’s un-banked and under-banked residents access to low-to-no cost checking and savings accounts along with access to in-depth financial education. This initiative addresses an issue that has been a problem in our community for some time and provides Columbia residents a healthy alternative to using payday lenders and check cashing businesses for their financial needs. Un-banked individuals do not have bank accounts but use pay-day lenders and check cashing businesses for their financial needs. Under-banked individuals have bank accounts but still use these pay-day lenders and check cashing businesses. Using these sub-prime businesses can cost $1,250-$1,350 in annual fees and underlines the main reason why “Bank On” Columbia is needed in our community. We also partner with local community organizations in order to provide their clients access to these accounts.
The “Bank On” Columbia program is in partnership with Branch Bank and Trust (BB&T), South State Bank and TD Bank. These banks donate their skills and time to help facilitate the “Start Fresh” financial education workshops. These workshops focus on banking, budgeting, saving, building your credit and homeownership. Participants of the workshop are either referred by one of the partnering banks or sign up by their own volition. The partnering banks also actively engage in the community to promote the “Bank On” initiative by visiting community organizations and attending community events.
Bank On” Columbia offers a free three part 12 hour “Start Fresh” financial education workshop series to participants of the program who either are referred by one of the partnering financial institutions or register by their own volition. A shorter 2 part workshop is also offered. The workshop series is also open to the public and focuses on banking, budgeting, saving, building your credit, and homeownership. Our workshop series is fully supported and backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Members of our partnering financial institutions along with City of Columbia personnel facilitate the workshops. After successfully completing the workshop, each participant is given a certificate of completion to present to one of the partnering financial institution so that they can open a bank account. Workshop are held throughout the year. For more information, please call 803-545-3373.