MADISON, WI – Sept. 17, 2021 – Today, UW Credit Union’s Clear Account 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.
Since its introduction in 2018, Clear Account benefits have included no overdraft or nonsufficient fund (NSF) fees, no minimum balance requirements, surcharge-free ATMs, and federal deposit insurance. It provides a simple, paperless experience to pay bills and make purchases through free, exclusively designed debit cards. There is no monthly fee for Clear Account when members use Direct or Mobile Deposit. Otherwise, there is a low $5 fee per month.
“We’re thrilled that our Clear Account has earned national Bank On account certification,” said UW Credit Union President & CEO Paul Kundert. “Since UW Credit Union’s inception 90 years ago, we’ve been on a steady path to creating more equitable, accessible banking. We amplified that in 2018, when we first introduced our Clear, Launch and Encore accounts and then again, this summer, by reducing all overdraft/NSF fees for our other accounts to just $5. While we’re motivated by this progress, we recognize that the financial industry has a long road ahead to curbing inequities.”’
The goal of Bank On is to ensure that everyone has access to safe and affordable financial products and services. The 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.
“UW Credit Union offers consumers who are looking to improve their finances a safe, affordable, and truly useful mainstream banking product,” said Jonathan Mintz, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. “This is especially important during COVID-19, as consumers need to access and manage their money both affordably and safely. The Clear Account brings UW Credit Union into the forefront of national banking access efforts, and we thank them.”
Accounts that meet Bank On National Account Standards are now available at over 33,600 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. Clear Account can be opened online or in every one of UW Credit Union’s 29 branches across Wisconsin. Over 115 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.
“UW Credit Union’s new certification status for its Clear Account helps to expand banking options and access for financially vulnerable families,” said Constance Alberts, Bank On Greater Milwaukee program. “We’re excited about our continued partnership and pleased to see UW Credit Union’s ongoing efforts to see banking through an equity lens. Trusted financial partners are critical to overcoming longstanding challenges and trust issues that plague so many of today’s families.”
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.