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Business Insider Interview – Second Chance Banking

Updated: Feb 6, 2023

There has been an increasing focus on systemic discrimination in accessing mainstream financial services for formerly incarcerated people and the "second chance" banking programs that are now becoming available. First Step Alliance was interviewed by Business Insider for their recent article, What to know about second chance banking — and how it opens up access for formerly incarcerated and underserved groups.

The article broadly covers second chance banking alternatives and its impact on bridging gaps that affect people of color and low-income communities. First Step Alliance was interviewed to provide additional insight on "the role of second chance banking in providing financial freedom for formerly incarcerated individuals." Our Founder, Nancy Eiden, talked about the high percentage of recently incarcerated people who are unbanked or underbanked, both prior to, and following their incarceration. When these individuals try to open a bank account, they may be denied because they lack proper identification or because of their criminal history. Those who had bank accounts before incarceration also might experience an involuntary account closure due to inactivity or significant unpaid fees. The article also mentioned First Step Alliance's efforts to start a credit union dedicated to meeting the financial needs of formerly incarcerated individuals and their families. The initial application for this new credit union was submitted to the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the government regulator for the credit union industry, in early April 2022.

It's difficult for formerly incarcerated people to qualify for bank products and services at most financial institutions, so starting a credit union is an important step in reaching out to more people and addressing a larger systemic issue.

--- Nancy Eiden Founder, First Step Alliance

You can read the Business Insider article in its entirety HERE

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