SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California credit unions have taken the lead on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's new Bank on California initiative.
FDIC Community Affairs Officer Michael Frias is "on loan" to the Golden State for two years to help develop the program, said Ron Fong, director of state government affairs for the California Credit Union League. Fong met with Frias shortly after the program was announced in late January to offer credit union muscle for a statewide effort to increase participation in mainstream financial services.
"I told him CUs are very enthused about the program and want to help out, and he took us on," Fong said.
Fong, Frias, and representatives from three credit unions then met in Oakland Feb. 28 to brainstorm strategies that would appeal to East Bay residents, where an abnormally large percentage of consumers are classified as unbanked.
Fong said he's still got a couple of open slots available for credit unions who want to participate in two additional meetings with Frias: San Jose on March 10 and Fresno on March 25.
So far, the program looks like it will focus on three topics, Fong said: second chance checking products; use of matricula consular cards and other forms of ID; and a general public relations campaign to raise awareness about traditional banking services.