Bank on San Francisco

San Francisco Looks Out For All of Us

In 2006, San Francisco opened a program that would allow low income people to have a bank account. People the city referred to as the "unbanked" citizens of San Francisco. These are the people that generally had to use check cashing services. Participating banks and credit unions report they have opened 11,110 Bank on San Francisco accounts since the program launched in September 2006.

According to the Mayors press release, Bank on San Francisco seeks to help people like 71 year-old Virginia Johnson. Ms. Johnson, who lives in the South of Market neighborhood and cares for her disabled grandson full-time, has been cashing her $900 monthly check at a check casher since 1974. She learned about the program when her care worker, Roy Miller, saw a billboard and called for more information. "I had been using check cashers for 30 years," said Virginia. "I just didn't know about the credit union. I had been paying almost $200 a month to cash my social security check and my grandson's disability check, and to pay all of our bills with money orders." Now Virginia has her monthly income direct deposited into her account at the Northeast Community Federal Credit Union, receives five free money orders each month and has a safe place to keep her money. She has also signed up to take a financial management class and will receive her first ever ATM card upon completion of the class next month.

Treasurer Cisneros launched Bank on San Francisco in September 2006, alongside Mayor Gavin Newsom, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the non-profit, EARN.

Special thanks to JohnLSmith - Great photo!

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