NEW YORK– Wells Fargo announced the Banking Inclusion Initiative, a 10-year commitment to help nbanked individuals gain access to affordable, mainstream, digitally-enabled transactional accounts – a meaningful entry point to fully participating in the economy and achieving financial stability. The initiative will focus on reaching unbanked communities and, in particular, helping remove barriers to financial inclusion for Black and African American, Hispanic, and Native American/Alaska Native families, which account for more than half of America’s 7 million unbanked households1. It also will assist those who are underbanked or underserved – individuals who may have a bank account yet continue to use high cost, non-bank services and have similar needs.

Wells Fargo will bring together multiple national and community stakeholders to roll out the broad-based initiative that is designed to increase access to affordable products, digital banking and financial guidance within unbanked communities. Through this initiative, Wells Fargo also will collaborate with partners to explore solutions to the credit challenges facing unbanked individuals. This year, the bank will work with partners to set and begin measuring a 10-year goal for reducing the number of people who are unbanked, with milestones along the way.

According to 2019 FDIC data1, 12.2 percent of Hispanic households, 13.8 percent of Black households, and 16.3 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native households in the U.S. don’t have access to a mainstream checking account – compared with 2.5 percent of White and 1.7 percent of Asian households. The FDIC also reports that while these figures have been trending downward, the number of unbanked households will likely increase in the aftermath of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“We recognize the high number of unbanked households is a complex and long-standing issue that will require gathering the best minds, ideas, products and educational resources from across our communities to bring about change,” said CEO Charlie Scharf. 

“Through our Initiative, we will organize our resources under one umbrella and work with a broad and diverse group of stakeholders on a sustained multi-year effort to accelerate financial inclusion in the U.S.”