In a significant move to make personal banking more accessible and less daunting for consumers, Gateway First Bank has been nationally recognized for its efforts in providing a safe and cost-effective personal checking account. This accolade comes from the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund), which has officially certified the bank’s account as aligning with the Bank On National Account Standards for 2023 – 2024. These standards are meticulously designed to include 25 essential features that advocate for low costs, high functionality, and consumer safety.

Gateway First Bank’s personal checking account offers several commendable features that cater to the needs of a wide customer base, especially appealing to those who might feel marginalized by more traditional banking products. It notably excludes monthly service fees and overdraft fees, which are often deterrents for potential account holders. Furthermore, it supports financial growth by being interest-bearing, it demands a minimal opening deposit and balance of just $25, and guarantees the security of deposits with federal insurance.

Such features make the account approachable and promote financial inclusion, aligning with Gateway First Bank’s mission to enhance customer and community financial health.

Scott Gesell, President of Gateway First Bank, highlighted the profound impact of such banking products on individuals’ financial progress, stressing the importance of banking facilities in building credit, crucial for large purchases like homes and cars.

Adding to this accolade is Jonathan Mintz, President and CEO of the CFE Fund, who noted that the certified account offers residents in Oklahoma and beyond, a reliable mainstream financial product for managing their money. This certification places Gateway First Bank prominently in the national effort to enhance banking access.

Nationally, financial exclusion remains a critical issue, with the FDIC estimating 5.9 million unbanked and 18.7 million underbanked households in the U.S. Incorporating such certified accounts aligns with the CFE Fund and Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ findings, indicating that these accounts serve approximately 85% of consumers new to financial institutions.

The Bank On initiative aims broadly to ensure nationwide access to safe and affordable financial products and services. It pinpoints crucial features for bank or credit union accounts, facilitating connections between consumers and banks that meet their financial needs through a collaboration of governments, financial institutions, and community organizations.

Bank On builds upon a grassroots movement, with nearly 100 coalitions nationwide striving to bridge the gap between unbanked individuals and the financial systems through public awareness, targeted outreach, and financial education.

Gateway First Bank, headquartered in Jenks, Oklahoma, stands as a beacon within this movement—showcasing the potential of banks to drive societal change by adapting their products and services to meet diverse consumer needs, thus fostering an inclusive financial environment.

This initiative is a step forward in confronting the financial isolation faced by millions, opening doors to economic opportunities and stability that come with mainstream banking services.