Launched in October 2020, Bank On Charleston is a coalition of public and private entities seeking to provide access to safe, affordable bank accounts for unbanked and underbanked individuals in the Charleston community. Bank On Charleston is part of a national Bank On Coalition through the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund.
Bank On Certified accounts have attributes that include low or no monthly fees, no overdraft penalties, online banking and mobile banking.
Banks in the Bank On Charleston Coalition with Bank On Certified Accounts
A second goal of Bank On Charleston is to connect residents to resources in the community that can help them gain greater financial stability. These organizations provide services like credit counseling, debt management, homeownership workshops, small business workshops, and more. Below is a list of our partner organizations:
Interested in hosting a workshop on Financial Empowerment or joining the Bank On Charleston Coalition? Email Mindy Sturm at email@example.com.
63M adults in the US are un- or underbanked, often relying on costly alternative financial services—such as check cashers, payday lenders, and pawn shops—for routine financial transactions.
19.4% of households in SC are underbanked
13% of white households in SC are underbanked
32.2% of Black households in SC are underbanked
6.7 % of households in SC are unbanked
2.1% of white households in SC are unbanked 2.1%
18% of Black households in SC are unbanked
Reasons people are un/underbanked:
not enough money for minimum balance
distrust of financial institutions
High or unpredictable fees
History of credit or banking problems
Cost savings: The average unbanked person spends 5% of net income on unnecessary fees for alternative financial services.
Asset building: Without a bank account, a family lacks the ability to save reliably or automatically, or establish a banking relationship that can lead to accessing affordable credit for opportunities like a car, small business, or home mortgage.
Financial stability: Research shows that being unbanked makes it harder to achieve financial goals like reducing debt and improving credit scores. One recent CFE Fund study found that unbanked financial counseling clients were less than half as likely to be able to save, and over a third less likely to establish credit, as banked clients.
Public safety: Without a safe place to deposit their money, unbanked people are more likely to be victims of crime because they often carry large sums of cash or keep cash in their homes. The elderly, disabled, and undocumented immigrants can be particularly vulnerable.
Current Steering Committee Partners
Bank of America
Charleston Promise Neighborhood
Charleston Area Urban League
City of Charleston Department of Housing and Community Development
Palmetto Community Action Partnership
For more information, visit Bank On Charleston, call 843-965-4190, or email sturmM@charleston-sc.gov.