Bank On South Alabama is...
A collaborative initiative between community service organizations, municipalities, and local financial institutions in an eight county region which currently includes Baldwin, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia, Mobile, Monroe, and Washington counties.
Bank On South Alabama is dedicated to helping improve the financial stability of the unbanked and underbanked residents of our community by connecting them to safe and affordable mainstream accounts in banks and credit unions, raising public awareness of these efforts and opportunities, and otherwise expanding access to financial education and other financial empowerment opportunities.
Our Mission is to...
Empower unbanked and underbanked individuals through financial education and awareness to take the first steps toward financial stability.
Encourage unbanked and underbanked individuals to save and build security for themselves and their families by connecting with a financial institution through a Bank On product/service.
Our Goals Are...
The Bank On South Alabama (BOSA) initiative was formed in May 2013 by a group of concerned and like-minded leaders representing banks, credit unions, nonprofits, the City of Mobile, and who subsequently evolved into the Steering Committee as volunteers. The Steering Committee members selected Ashley Mabry with Trustmark Bank and Sandra Dunaway with Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Mobile, as Steering Committee Co-Chairs. After months of researching best practices, planning, and conducting introductory community meetings with potential partners, the initiative launched in June 2014. The launch was conducted as a press conference facilitated by the City of Mobile’s Mayor Sandy Stimpson and Mobile County Commissioner, Merceria Ludgood.
BOSA’s original Steering Committee members include Sandra Dunaway, Co-Chair, Lifelines/Consumer Credit Counseling; Ashley Mabry, Co-Chair, Trustmark Bank; Robyn Anderson, Commonwealth National Bank; Olabode Anise, Azalea City Credit Union; Patsy Herron, United Way of Southwest Alabama; Alex Ikefuna, City of Mobile Community Planning & Development; John Olsen, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Shirley Sessions, Regions Bank; and Mel Ann Sullivan, First United Security Bank.
Through the years, the initiative has been very successful in completing planned work and meeting goals to produce necessary outcomes. However, the Steering Committee realized early on, that for BOSA to be sustainable, there would need to be at least one full time position. In 2017, BOSA applied for and was awarded one of five 2-year grants from the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE) to provide 2/3 of the cost of a Bank On “Fellow,” who would be the dedicated employee to manage the day-to-day work of the initiative. Since BOSA is not incorporated as a nonprofit, it was necessary for a community organization to “host” the Fellow if the grant was awarded. We are pleased to report that United Way of Southwest Alabama agreed to take on this task and include the Fellow as an employee but with the BOSA Steering Committee continuing to provide oversight regarding the initiative’s work.
Inspired by the success of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC’s) early Model Safe Accounts Pilot in 2011, the CFE Fund worked closely with the Bank On National Advisory Board and other stakeholders to develop the Bank On National Account Standards (NAS) and develop the next phase of Bank On initiatives, Bank On 2.0. The Bank On NAS provide local community programs, such as BOSA, with a benchmark for account partnerships with financial institutions. The updated account standards include expanded allowable bill pay functionality and core features such as low-cost, low-fee, no-overdraft transaction capabilities. Financial institutions with accounts that meet the NAS can apply free online for national certification through the CFE’s account validation process.