Berkshire Bank MyFreedom Account Receives National Certification from Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund as Safe, Affordable Account
BOSTON, MA -- May 14, 2021 – Berkshire Bank, a purpose-driven community bank with locations primarily in New England and New York, has received official certification from the national nonprofit Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund's Bank On National Account Standards for their MyFreedom™ bank account. The MyFreedom Berkshire Bank account limits fees to help consumers facing financial pressures and help consumers maintain their access to banking services.
Berkshire Bank’s MyFreedom product will connect unbanked and underbankedresidents with reliable financial services to help them save, grow, and access their money. Many of these residents currentlymay relyon costly check-cashing services, which proliferate in low-income communities and communities of color.
The MyFreedom checking account has no charges for overdrafts or monthly maintenance fees. It offers free Mobile Banking with Mobile Deposit and access to Berkshire Bank's Greenpath Financial Wellness programs and several other benefits.
"With the designation, Berkshire Bank asserts our focus on alleviating the banking disparities in low-income communities to ensure equal access to financial stability," said Tami Gunsch, Head of Consumer Banking, Berkshire Bank.
The CFE Fund, a national nonprofit that seeks to improve low and moderate-income households' financial stability, validated the account under its Bank On initiative, which ensuresthat everyone has access to affordable transactional banking accounts.
With MyFreedom Checking, Berkshire Bank canfurther assist disproportionately affected low-income households. According to recent data, one in four U.S. adults are considered unbanked or underbanked in the U.S., and these consumers pay almost $200 billion a year in fees and interest on financial products.
"When we talk about financial security and creating wealth, having the right place to bank is paramount to the process," continuedGunsch. "Banking without the day-to-day concern of penalties or extensive fees can help account holders to move forward on their financial plan."
"The Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund is delighted to award its national Bank On account certification to Berkshire Bank's MyFreedom Checking account,"said Jonathan Mintz, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. "MyFreedom Checking offers Boston residents working to improve their finances a safe, affordable, and truly useful mainstream banking product–especially critical during COVID-19, as consumers need to access and manage their money safely and affordably. Berkshire Bank's partnership with Bank On Boston, and their MyFreedom Checking account, is an important contribution to bringing Bostonians into the financial mainstream, and we thank them."
Bank On collaborates with financial institutions to provide residents with account options that meet safety and affordability standards. Berkshire Bank's MyFreedom Checking account has met Bank On National Account Standards, which designate both core and strongly recommended features that ensure low cost, high functionality, and consumer safety. With the addition of the MyFreedomChecking account, accounts that meet Bank On National Account Standards are now available at over 28,000 branches in all 50 states and Washington, DC; financial institutions with Bank On certified accounts already comprise over 46% of the national depositmarket share. In addition to MyFreedom Checking account, more than 80 other Bank On certified accounts are available at banks and credit unions across the country.
Berkshire Bank has continuously worked to move individuals into the financial mainstream with access to tools like our GreenPath Financial Wellness program and one-on-one consultations with a local banker. Berkshire bank has made it a part of its core mission to give consumers needed access to manage their money, including emergency payments like stimulus and unemployment, safely and affordably.
"Berkshire Bank has a deep commitment to providing banking services for customers who may not have had access in the past to traditional checking or savings accounts," said Gunsch. "Our goal with MyFreedom Checking is to help customers enter the banking system and to have them remain in it."
Berkshire Bank's MyFreedom Checking account is now available to residents looking to improve their finances with a safe, affordable, and beneficial mainstream banking product that offers more access.
About Berkshire Bank
Berkshire Bank is a community bank committed to purpose-driven performance based on its Be FIRST corporate responsibility culture.
Berkshire Bank provides business and consumer banking, mortgage, wealth management, investment, and insurance services. The Bank has approximately $12.8 billion in assets and operates 121 branch offices primarily in New England and New York, with an agreement to sell its eight Mid-Atlantic branches. Headquartered in Boston, Berkshire Hills Bancorp (NYSE: BHLB) is the parent of Berkshire Bank and is a member of the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index. To learn more, call 800-773-5601 or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
About the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund)
The CFE Fund supports municipal efforts to improve the financial stability of households by leveraging opportunities unique to local government. By translating cutting edge experience with large scale programs, research, and policy in cities of all sizes, the CFE Fund assists mayors and other local leaders to identify, develop, fund, implement, and researchpilots and programs that help families build assets and make the most of their financial resources. The CFE Fund is currently working in over 100 cities and counties and has disbursed over $52 million to local governments and their partners to support these efforts. For more information, please visit www.cfefund.org or follow us on Twitter at @CFEFund.