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First Bank Community Checking Receives National Certification by Banking Advocates as Safe, Affordable Account

The Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund’s Bank On National Account Standards Certification of Community Checking indicates that it meets over 25 features for safe and affordable consumer transaction accounts.

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First Bank recently announced that its Community Checking was officially certified by the national Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund) as meeting the Bank On National Account Standards (2021 – 2022).

The national safe account Standards, co-created by consumer advocates, leading national nonprofit organizations, civic leaders, and other financial institutions, designate both core and strongly recommended features that ensure low cost, high functionality, and consumer safety.

Key features of Community Checking include no monthly fees with qualifying direct deposit and a low $5 per month fee with no direct deposit, no overdraft or nonsufficient fund fees, the ability to pay bills and make purchases, and federal deposit insurance.

Community Checking is available in every one of First Bank’s 16 branches across New Jersey & Pennsylvania

“First Bank is proud to offer an account that will benefit those who have traditionally avoided opening bank accounts because of overdraft fees and high minimum balances,” said Emilio Cooper, First Bank’s EVP & Chief Deposits Officer. “Being a community bank, it is important to have a variety of products to serve a wide range of people in different stages of life.”

“The Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund is delighted to award its national Bank On account certification to First Bank’s Community Checking,” said Jonathan Mintz, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. “Community Checking offers New Jersey & Pennsylvania residents who are looking to improve their finances a safe, affordable, and truly useful mainstream banking product– this is especially important during COVID-19, as consumers need to access and manage their money both affordably and safely. First Bank’s offering of this terrific account brings them into the forefront of national banking access efforts, and we thank them.”

The goal of Bank On is to ensure that everyone has access to safe and affordable financial products and services. 

Bank On National Account Standards identify critical product features for appropriate bank or credit union accounts, making it easier for local coalitions across the country to connect consumers to accounts that meet their needs.

With the addition of the Community Checking, accounts that meet Bank On National Account Standards are now available at over 32,500 branches in all 50 states and Washington, DC; financial institutions with Bank On certified accounts already comprise over 52% of the national deposit market share.

In addition to Community Checking, over 100 other financial institutions with Bank On certified accounts are available across the country.

Data collected by the CFE Fund in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis through Bank On’s national reporting platform shows that these accounts are meeting consumers’ needs; since their offering, millions of consumers have opened Bank On certified accounts, with approximately three quarters of them opened by consumers new to the financial institutions.

The CFE Fund leads the national Bank On movement, supporting 85 local coalitions working to connect individuals and families to the financial mainstream through partnerships between governments, financial institutions, and community organizations. 

To learn more about Bank On and the National Account Standards click here, or follow the conversation on Twitter @CFEfund #BankOn.

About First Bank

First Bank (firstbanknj.com) is a New Jersey state-chartered bank with 16 full-service branches throughout New Jersey in Burlington, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset and Morris counties, as well as in Bucks and Chester counties in Pennsylvania.

With $2.44 billion in assets as of June 30, 2021, First Bank offers a traditional range of deposit and loan products to individuals and businesses throughout the New York City to Philadelphia corridor.

First Bank’s common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Market exchange under the symbol “FRBA.” Member FDIC and EHL.

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, and has disbursed over $52 million to local governments and their partners to support these efforts.

For more information, please visit www.cfefund.org or follow us on Twitter at @CFEFund.

About Bank On

Bank On coalitions are locally-led partnerships between local public officials; city, state, and federal government agencies; financial institutions; and community organizations that work together to help improve the financial stability of unbanked and underbanked individuals and families in their communities.

The Bank On national initiative builds on a grassroots movement of over 85 coalitions in cities across the country, offering national account standards, capacity grant support, pilot funding, and a learning community.

In addition to connecting unbanked individuals to accounts, Bank On programs raise public awareness, target outreach to the unbanked, and expand access to financial education.

Visit www.cfefund.org/bankon for more information, or follow the conversation on Twitter @CFEFund #BankOn. 

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