Amy Helbling Crafa
AVP, Corporate Communications Officer
Direct Line: 860-344-7213
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 8, 2022
Liberty Bank Launches New BankSmart Account to Serve Underbanked and Unbanked Communities
(Middletown, CT. March 8, 2022) – Joining the growing number of financial institutions nationwide who have made it a top priority to connect underbanked and unbanked consumers to safe, affordable banking accounts, Liberty Bank today unveiled BankSmart, their no overdraft fee, new deposit banking account.
According to a recent ‘CT By the Numbers’ FDIC survey, one in five households, or 21% of Connecticut households are underbanked or unbanked. Evaluated within the Bank’s CRA Assessment Area, about 1.2 million households in Liberty’s footprint are underbanked and unbanked.
Liberty developed the BankSmart account in a way that directly serves the underbanked and unbanked communities while empowering individuals to improve their financial situations and build savings. The launch of Liberty’s BankSmart coincides with the work of the national BankOn Coalition aimed at changing the financial landscape of our communities to create equal opportunities for success, particularly by providing access to safe and affordable financial products and services.
Liberty’s BankSmart product consists of free, 24-hour in network ATM and online banking access; free monthly e-statements; a debit MasterCard that gives customers the freedom to spend and access their cash 24/7; and a mobile banking app to send money, deposit checks, freeze and unfreeze debit cards, and set up alerts to monitor balances and transactions. BankSmart does have a $3.95 monthly maintenance fee but it is waived for customers aged 26 or less, and those aged 65 or older.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a heavy financial toll on residents within the communities we serve, steadily growing the gap between wealthy and low-and-moderate income communities,” stated Glenn Davis, FVP, Liberty Bank Community Development and CRA Officer. “The Liberty BankSmart account enables us to improve individual and family financial stability using conventional banking services as a viable alternative to high cost options. BankSmart can be leveraged with other products and services to help people become more financially equipped and position them for other opportunities like homeownership.”
The launch of BankSmart is timely given the Liberty Bank announcement in December 2021 regarding its unique public-private partnership to make homeownership more affordable in the Capital City with the Honorable Adam M. Cloud, Hartford City Treasurer and the Connecticut Attorneys Title Insurance Company (CATIC). This Hartford initiative includes: Liberty’s Good Neighbor Plus Loan Program, Community Outreach and Discounted Professional Fees for Homebuyers.
“We are dedicated to getting to know our customers personally and helping them grow financially through various resources, tools and our team’s expertise,” stated David W. Glidden, Liberty Bank President and CEO. “Families often pay too much for basic financial transactions and are hard pressed to build savings and assets. This is where Liberty BankSmart can make a difference. As a Community Kind Bank, we are responding to the needs of our community members and working with more partners across our region to create more equity and assist families as they seek to become more financially secure.”
In addition to BankSmart, Liberty offers other important Community Development initiatives such as credit building workshops, financial literacy, Individual Development Accounts and more. This includes First Time Homebuyer events, its Good Neighbor and Good Neighbor Plus Loan Programs, Lunch and Learn seminars, and their Academy for Small Business series, which is a free, 10-week program held a few times throughout the year to assist local entrepreneurs.
In 2021, Liberty Bank proudly earned an ‘Outstanding’ rating from both the FDIC and CT Department of Banking for its Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) responsibilities.
More product details and financial literacy opportunities with Middletown, Connecticut-based Liberty Bank can be found at www.liberty-bank.com.
About Liberty Bank
Established in 1825, Liberty Bank is one of the oldest and largest mutual banks in the country. With more than $7 billion in assets, Liberty has 56 banking offices across Connecticut with one in Western MA. As a full-service financial institution, Liberty offers consumer and commercial banking, cash management, home mortgages, business loans, insurance and investment services. Named ‘Top Workplace’ by the Hartford Courant every year since 2012 and designated a 2021 Best-In-State Bank in Connecticut by Forbes Magazine, Liberty maintains a longstanding commitment to superior personal service and unparalleled community involvement.
Liberty Bank. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.