Bank On Roanoke Valley

United Way Roanoke Valley, local government leaders and heads of financial institutions formally introduced a new public-private partnership, Bank On Roanoke Valley (BORV), January 16th at a press conference held during the Roanoke Career, Lifestyle, and Financial Fitness Fair.  BORV is intended to connect unbanked and underbanked citizens with low-cost or free starter checking and/or savings accounts, and provide free financial educational classes to the public throughout the year. The goal is 1,000 new accounts in the next two years and at least 200 hours of free adult financial education to the public throughout the year. Class schedules can be found on the BORV website, www.bankonrv.org.

In the Roanoke MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area), an estimated 6,525 households are unbanked – they do not have a checking or a savings account. In addition, close to 23,000 households are underbanked – they may have a checking or savings account but still use costly alternative financial services. This alternative system includes check cashers, payday loan providers, pawn shops, auto title lenders and rent-to-own stores that charge extremely high fees for services which most people can access at a much lower cost. Something as simple as a checking account can be the first step in saving, planning for the future, building credit and climbing the economic ladder. Unbanked and underbanked individuals operate in a mainly cash-based system, missing out on the stabilizing benefits a checking account provides.

Blue Eagle® Credit Union is honored to be one of many financial partners supporting this program. BORV is a natural fit for credit unions that live the ‘people helping people’ philosophy each and every day. This provides another vehicle for reaching and helping more people in the community to improve their financial situation. Jeff Thompson, CEO of Blue Eagle® Credit Union, shares “Our vision is Enriching Your Life. Those are not just words; they’re something we strive to achieve with each member interaction. It’s what our staff is passionate about doing. Enriching your life – that’s something we want share with our entire community and Bank On allows us to reach more people. It’s a proven model and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.”

Chris Maynard, COO of the credit union, comments, “Stronger individuals, make for a stronger community. I recently helped a member who was certain she would not qualify for a loan. She was caught up in the cycle of using payday lenders. We were able to help break that cycle, save her money, and get her back on track financially so she can improve her financial situation. Unbanked and underbanked individuals need to know there are financial solutions that can improve their situation.”