Whitmer announces increased access to financial services

Inadequate access to financial resources costs the unbanked and underbanked an average of $3,000 per year. New accounts will save Michiganders money.

LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer, along with the Michigan Open Account Coalition (MOAC), announced a new program Wednesday designed to increase access to financial services for Michiganders.

The new program, MI Open Account Program, offers low-cost bank accounts to unbanked or underbanked Michiganders.

“Not having access to financial resources and tools costs unbanked and underbanked Michiganders an average of $3,000 a year in fees for cashing checks, money orders, bill payment services, third-party debit cards , etc.,” Governor Whitmer said.

The program works with state banks and credit unions to provide accounts with reduced fees and deposit limits to thousands of Michiganders.

“People in Michigan deserve access to safe and secure financial services without paying an arm and a leg in hidden fees. MI Open Accounts are certified bank or credit union accounts with low or no fees, no hidden fees, no overdraft fees and little or no minimum deposit. These accounts also offer essential financial tools: a debit card, direct deposit and online bill payment. The MI Open Account Coalition will help unbanked or underbanked Michiganders avoid unexpected costs, build credit, and pay for emergencies by putting more money in their pockets as we continue to grow our economy,” added Governor Whitmer.

MOAC was formed earlier this year by the Michigan Department of Financial Services (DIFS), the Michigan Bankers Association and the Michigan Credit Union League.

MOAC’s goal is to increase the accessibility of financial institutions to historically underserved communities. The coalition achieves this goal by partnering with financial institutions to provide low-cost banking services to Michigan residents and teaching them the importance of nurturing relationships with these institutions.

“Some consumers may not have an account at a bank or credit union because they fear there are hidden fees or terms they don’t understand,” Michigan DIFS Director Anita said. Fox. “We are thrilled that Michigan banks and credit unions have joined us in offering and promoting low-cost and no-fee accounts and educating consumers about the availability and benefits of CFE-certified MI Open Accounts.”

So far, there are 20 certified MI open accounts in Michigan, with many more in the process of being certified. A complete list of participating financial institutions is available at Michigan.gov/DIFSOpenAccount.

All MI open accounts are certified by the Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) fund and comply with CFE national accounting standards:

  • No overdraft, account activation, closure, dormancy, inactivity and low balance fees
  • Limits on ATM fees (no fees in-network; $3 or less out-of-network)
  • A limit on minimum opening deposits ($25 or less)
  • A limit on monthly maintenance fees ($5 or less)

More information about the Michigan Open Account Coalition is available here.

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