On Friday Baldwin County Commissioners Chris Elliott and Tucker Dorsey, along with Daphne Mayor Dane Haygood, will launch Bank On South Alabama, a program which allows Baldwin County families dependent upon high-cost check cashing services and alternative financial services to easily open a starter checking and savings account with reputable partner financial institutions.

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According to Elliott, there are 4,365 households in Baldwin County without checking accounts and 16,151 households also utilizing alternative financial services to manage their personal finances.

“These services charge high fees and the result is people struggling to provide for their families,” Elliott said. “We want to ensure our residents have affordable options so they can begin to save and build assets.”

Dorsey said the program is a good opportunity to educate and provide Baldwin residents with necessary tools to improve their financial situation.

“Having low and no cost accounts while partnering with trustworthy professionals in mainstream financial institutions is a terrific starting point,” Dorsey said.

The initiative, which began in Mobile County in July 2014, will expand to the remaining six counties that comprise Southwest Alabama by the end of the year. It is spearheaded by the Bank On South Alabama Steering Committee with representatives from financial institutions, community organizations, and local governments.

Steering Committee Co-Chairs, Sandra Dunaway with Lifelines/Consumer Credit Counseling, and Ashley Mabry with Trustmark Bank, along with the other Steering Committee members,have worked to bring the initiative to fruition.

“We, as Co-Chairs of the Bank On South Alabama Steering Committee, want to thank and acknowledge the continued commitment exhibited by the Steering Committee members, as well as our partners, in making this extremely important initiative a reality,” Dunaway and Mabry said in a press release. “We also would like to thank John Olsen, Community Affairs Specialist with the FDIC, who provides technical assistance for the initiative.”

Along with Haygood, Dorsey and Elliott, other participating partners in local and state government are State Senator Vivian Davis Figures, Mobile County Commissioner Merceria Ludgood and Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson.

For more information about Bank On South Alabama, click here or contact United Way 2-1-1.