Make Her (Pay)Day

Paul Bass Photo Big banks rip off millions of low-income depositors with fake accounts or unnecessary fees or mortgage redlining or higher rates . Payday lenders prey on the “unbanked” with loan-shark interest rates they can’t meet.

On the other hand, New Haven now has Samantha Savvidou. Can she come to the rescue?

Savvidou, a social worker fresh off receiving her masters from University of Connecticut, has set up shop as a first-ever “Bank On Fellow” to help the 20 percent of New Haveners who don’t have conventional bank accounts obtain accounts and learn techniques that keep money in their hands.

A team of such “Bank On Fellows” have begun work in spots across the country. The national not-for-profit called Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund set up the program through five state-level. The Connecticut Association for Human Services (CAHS) is its partner for our state, and CAHS hired Savvidou for the two-year gig in New Haven.

Her mission is to connect low-income and working-class people avoid having to go to check-cashing services that end up keeping an extra $500 of their money on average each year (or to payday lenders that advance money for paychecks and then take usurious cuts in exchange). And working with START Bank and other local lenders, Savvidou will connect people with training that helps them budget better, save more money, avoid financial troubles. (People can reach her at.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).)

Her organization presses banks to meet certain standards for access to “safe and affordable accounts,” such as allowing people to open accounts that require $25 or less up front to open or $10 minimum balances to maintain. Major banks here do often have such accounts available, but they don’t people know about them, Savvidou said during an interview on WNHH FM’s “Dateline New Haven” program.

She said she sees her mission as social work, even if people don’t always think of banking access as a traditional social-work issue. “I feel like I’m serving a greater purpose” by doing community organizing and helping people avoid financial perils and by developing progressive public policy.

Click on the above audio file or the below Facebook Live video to listen to the full interview with Samantha Savvidou on WNHH FM. (Her portion of the Facebook Live video begins at the 18:45 mark

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posted by: THREEFIFTHS on November 14, 2017  9:23am

And working with START Bank and other local lenders, Savvidou will connect people with training that helps them budget better, save more money, avoid financial troubles. (People can reach her at this email address.)

Banks are crooked.Credit Unions are Better.

Banks vs Credit Unions

https://youtu.be/r5ND2YasEUI

How is a Credit Union Different from a Bank

https://youtu.be/X0fdu6vHrdg

posted by: 1644 on November 14, 2017  2:39pm

Wells Fargo, the villain of the unauthorized accounts scandal, offers checking for a minimum $25 deposit and only $10/month service fee, waived if the account holder has over $500/mo in direct deposits or under other circumstances.  Many other banks offer similar accounts.
https://www.wellsfargo.com/checking/
Besides these accounts, federal legislation should force banks to honor drafts drawn on accounts they hold.  E.g., if I have a check drawn on a Bank of America account, I should be able to cash it at Bank of America, regardless of whether I do business with BoA.  After all, BoA knows if the account has sufficient funds, and holds the signature card for the account holder.