Credit Union Initiative
First Step Alliance is committed to ending systemic discrimination in mainstream banking for formerly incarcerated individuals. In addition to our current programs, we are working hard to help start a new credit union to provide a "financial home" for unbanked people and their families. This not-for-profit financial institution will focus on the financial needs of returning citizens and help people create a path to long-term financial well-being.
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 open a bank account or qualify for a small loan, forcing them to rely on high-cost, often predatory non-bank alternatives, like check cashers and payday lenders. 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.
Watch the CU Broadcast interview with Nancy Eiden & Tom O'Shea to learn more about this issue and how a new credit union will help address systemic discrimination in financial services.