UnidosUS and Wells Fargo Launch Awareness Program to Reach Unbanked Latinos

WASHINGTON, DC — UnidosUS—the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization and Wells Fargo are launching a program to promote Bank On nationally certified accounts, transaction accounts that offer low or no fees, no overdraft charges, and other accessible features.

The nonprofit Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund), who leads the national Bank On movement, also will partner as a program advisor and implementing partner.  Increased awareness of Bank On certified accounts will make opening and accessing a safe banking account more attainable to lower income individuals in the Latino community. The awareness campaign aims to make progress toward a more equitable, affordable, and accessible financial system for all.

The latest survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) found that low-income people and people of color are disproportionately unbanked, including millions of Latinos. The FDIC’s report also found that the overall unbanked rate reached a historical low of 4.5%, as did the Latino unbanked rate at 9.3% due in large part to pandemic era government benefits. Latinos’ biggest barriers to accessing a bank account included minimum balance requirements, lack of trust in financial institutions and high account fees according to a recent report by UnidosUS.

“Right now, we are seeing one of the lowest rates of unbanked and underbanked people in the country. However, with the expiration of pandemic-era programs, such as the Child Tax Credit, we face a crucial and timely moment to continue to break down barriers and make further progress towards financial inclusion,” said Eric Rodriguez, Senior Vice President, Policy and Advocacy, UnidosUS. “The Latino unbanked consumer segment is one with a lot of potential to grow financially. UnidosUS is proud to collaborate with Wells Fargo on this initiative and we look forward to working with financial institutions and community-based organizations to find ways of reaching these populations.”

“We’re excited to work with Unidos and the CFE Fund to help spread awareness of low-cost, affordable banking accounts for many unbanked and underserved Latinos. The need for collaboration to reduce the number of unbanked households remains a critical focus for Wells Fargo’s Banking Inclusion Initiative,” says Michael Martino, head of Diverse Segments for Wells Fargo’s Consumer, Small and Business Bank.

Connections to accounts certified as meeting the Bank On National Account Standards, developed and managed by CFE Fund, provides a critical first step towards accessing other products such as credit cards, auto loans, or mortgage loans. UnidosUS, the CFE Fund, and Wells Fargo are launching this program by identifying  communities in which there are high concentrations of unbanked Latinos, help to increase awareness of Bank On certified accounts and connecting unbanked Latinos with these accounts, and develop policy that can support future efforts to reach the unbanked.

“While the overall unbanked rate is decreasing nationally, Bank On coalitions and other partners know that over 9% of Latinos are unbanked – there is still work to be done to ensure that everyone is connected to a safe and affordable bank or credit union account,” said David Rothstein, Senior Principal at the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. “There are over 400 banks and credit unions with accounts meeting the CFE Fund’s Bank On National Account Standards, representing over 60% of the national deposit market share. We’re thrilled to partner with UnidosUS and Wells Fargo to test strategies to grow awareness of Bank On products for unbanked Latinos.”


About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a leading financial services company that has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets, proudly serves one in three U.S. households and more than 10% of small businesses in the U.S., and is a leading middle market banking provider in the U.S. We provide a diversified set of banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through our four reportable operating segments: Consumer Banking and Lending, Commercial Banking, Corporate and Investment Banking, and Wealth & Investment Management. Wells Fargo ranked No. 47 on Fortune’s 2023 rankings of America’s largest corporations. In the communities we serve, the company focuses its social impact on building a sustainable, inclusive future for all by supporting housing affordability, small business growth, financial health, and a low-carbon economy.

About the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund)

The CFE Fund supports municipal efforts to improve the financial stability of households by leveraging opportunities unique to local government. By translating cutting-edge experience with large scale programs, research, and policy in cities of all sizes, the CFE Fund assists mayors and other local leaders to identify, develop, fund, implement, and research pilots and programs that help families build assets and make the most of their financial resources. The CFE Fund is currently working in over 100 cities and counties representing 75 million people, and has disbursed over $64 million to city governments and their partners to support these efforts. For more information, please visit www.cfefund.org or follow us on Twitter at @CFEFund; learn more about the Bank On movement at www.joinbankon.org.