Department of the Treasury's Notice of Funds Availability
Invites Applications for the First Accounts Program
The Department of the Treasury's Office of the Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions has issued the attached Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) for the First Accounts Program. Applications will be accepted through March 20, 2002.
The NOFA invites insured depository institutions, and other eligible entities, to apply for grants to provide low-cost electronic, checking or other types of accounts to low- and moderate-income individuals who currently do not have an account with an insured depository institution or an insured credit union. Financial institutions are encouraged to review the NOFA and consider submitting an application.
The First Accounts Program's primary goal is to expand access to financial services for low- and moderate-income persons. The program fosters the development of financial products and services that can serve as replicable models in other communities without the need for ongoing public subsidies.
The First Accounts Program also seeks to help sustain relationships of low- and-moderate-income individuals with insured depository institutions. Accordingly, under the NOFA, institutions may also apply for grants to provide financial education for low- and moderate-income individuals. The FDIC's financial education curriculum, called Money Smart, can be used by financial institutions and others as part of a financial products, services and education program. For more information on Money Smart and instructions on ordering a free copy, see FIL-58-2001, "FDIC Financial Education Curriculum," which can be accessed from the FDIC's Web site at www.fdic.gov/news/news/financial/2001/fil0158.html, and the Money Smart brochure, accessible at http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/moneysmart/index.html.
Under the Community Reinvestment Act regulations, a financial institution may receive favorable consideration for the activities addressed in the First Accounts Program, e.g., financial services and education targeted to low- and-moderate income persons. For example, in the service test, a large bank may receive consideration by helping to meet the credit needs of its assessment area(s) based on its performance in delivering retail banking services and community development services, including low-cost bank accounts for low- or moderate-income individuals. Alternatively, banks, including small banks, may receive consideration for such activities to the extent they enhance the bank's lending performance, such as providing financial education in connection with a loan product.
Distribution: FDIC-Supervised Banks (Commercial and Savings)
NOTE: Paper copies of FDIC financial institution letters may be obtained through the FDIC's Public Information Center, 801 17th Street, NW, Room 100, Washington, DC 20434 (800-276-6003 or (703) 562-2200).