Fresh Start Banking
Fresh Start Banking
powered by Element Federal Credit Union
Giving Tuesday was created to unite us all in a day of generosity at the start of the holiday season, to make a difference in the world. Join the #GivingTuesday movement and help make a positive impact by supporting First Step Alliance and our mission to improve access to fair and inclusive financial services for formerly incarcerated people and their families.
For millions of formerly incarcerated people, access to affordable banking is a huge challenge, and impacts the ability to achieve financial stability and successful reentry into society. First Step Alliance addresses this issue through our Fresh Start Banking and Financial Education Programs. We are now in the process of starting a new credit union to provide more comprehensive financial services to this community. The new credit union will offer low and no-cost banking products, including a no-fee, no-minimum checking account, credit building products, such as secured credit cards, small dollar loans for emergencies, and auto loans. Our Fresh Start Financial Education Program will be made available at no cost to all credit union members, to help people get back on their feet and create a path to long-term financial health.
Our new Credit Union will be the first and only not-for-profit financial institution of its kind, dedicated to the financial needs and unique circumstances of formerly incarcerated people.
WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT?
More than 600,000 people are released from state and federal prisons in the U.S. each year and an estimated 24 million Americans have a felony record. For millions of formerly incarcerated individuals, fair treatment in banking is a huge issue. Many people can’t even open a bank account or qualify for a small loan. Access to financial education is also limited, which can affect someone’s ability to achieve long-term financial well-being. We are committed to changing this narrative and improving the financial lives of formerly incarcerated people and their families.
HOW WILL WE USE THE MONEY WE RAISE?
With your support, we can continue working to make large-scale change to the systemic banking challenges millions of individuals face, and help formerly incarcerated people create a path to financial stability and economic mobility. We’ve brought together experienced and passionate financial services professionals and community leaders with lived expertise (read more about us here). There is widespread support for our groundbreaking new credit union initiative from community members, government regulators, the credit union industry, reentry programs and other mission-aligned organizations. We recently reached an important milestone when the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) approved our request to move forward with a new charter application and First Step Alliance was approved as the Membership Association for the proposed federal credit union.