KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Consumers CU yesterday joined two local banks in launching “BankOn Kalamazoo,” which will offer free and low-cost banking and other financial services to the estimated 6,100 unbanked Kalamazoo residents.

All local branches of the credit union, PNC Bank and Fifth Third Bank are offering free or low-cost starter or “second chance” accounts, as well as access to financial education.

The program, which is a collaboration between community organizations, financial institutions and government officials, is the result of more than a year of research and testing, the Poverty Reduction Initiative said.

BankOn began as a pilot program in San Francisco in 2006 and has spread throughout the United States. In Michigan, Detroit started its BankOn program in 2009.

 

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