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American Banker Interview – Banking for Formerly Incarcerated

The media continues to shine a light on banking services for justice-involved individuals. American Banker recently published an article focusing on fintech as well as more traditional banking initiatives for this community.

First Step Alliance was featured as a non-profit organization advancing financial independence for formerly incarcerated individuals and a membership association for Diverge, a Proposed Federal Credit Union for the unbanked. The article mentioned First Step Alliance's plan to make its financial education programs available to members of the new credit union:

" 'One of the cornerstone features (of the new credit union) is financial education and creating a path to long-term financial well-being,' said Nancy Eiden, founder of First Step Alliance, a nonprofit that helps returning individuals achieve financial independence and one of the organizing members of Diverge."

The article also makes reference to the new credit union's intention to accept alternative forms of photo identification when driver’s licenses are not available and develop alternative credit scoring metrics to enable more people to qualify for credit products.

While the new charter application is in process, First Step Alliance discussed its plan to make available to the community a Bank On-certified banking app backed by several large credit unions. The app will allow other forms of ID when opening a low-cost checking account, and include a debit card, direct deposit, early access to paychecks, and 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs across the country. Customers may then be eligible membership in the new credit union when it is operational.


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