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    MCBC Announces 2007
    Participants in Basic Banking for Massachusetts

    125 Banks Offer Low Cost Accounts

    CONTACT:

    Kathleen Tullberg
    Manager, MCBC
    (617)244-0271
    [email protected]

    BOSTON, MA. January 23, 2007 - The Massachusetts Community & Banking Council (MCBC) announced today that 125 banks have qualified as 2007 participants in Basic Banking for Massachusetts, a voluntary program intended to expand access to bank products and services. The 125 banks participating banks represent 66 percent of all bank branches in the state.

    Under the Basic Banking for Massachusetts program, banks certify each year that they provide checking and savings accounts that meet MCBC guidelines. The Basic Banking checking account guidelines call for a maximum monthly charge of no more than $3 and a minimum of 15 free withdrawals a month. The savings account guidelines call for a maximum monthly charge of no more than $1. In addition to the 125 banks that provide qualified checking and savings account, 27 other banks provide either a checking or a savings account that meets Basic Banking for Massachusetts guidelines.

    Basic Banking for Massachusetts has been cited as a national model of cooperation between banks and community advocates. Basic Banking for Massachusetts utilizes voluntary guidelines developed by bankers and community representatives. Unlike other states that have specific mandated accounts, the Massachusetts program allows participating banks to develop individual accounts with features that meet the needs of their customers. As a result, consumers have a wide range of choices among the low-cost accounts provided by their local banks.

    “The Basic Banking for Massachusetts program provides low-cost account options for people with limited banking needs, “said Cynthia Merkle, senior vice president at Eastern bank and MCBC’s chairperson. “The program offers considerable savings for consumers, particularly those who have used check cashing establishments. It also offers an affordable way for people to establish a first-time banking relationship.”

    Basic Banking for Massachusetts has been cited as a national model of cooperation between banks and community advocates. Basic Banking for Massachusetts utilizes voluntary guidelines developed by bankers and community representatives. Unlike other states that have specific mandated accounts, the Massachusetts program allows participating banks to develop individual accounts with features that meet the needs of their customers. As a result, consumers have a wide range of choices among the low-cost accounts provided by their local banks.

    Basic Banking for Massachusetts also gets high marks from the Massachusetts Commissioner of Banks, Steven L. Antonakes. Antonakes said “The Division of Banks has long recognized the benefits of this program, particularly as it relates to the availability of affordable banking products. Basic Banking for Massachusetts provides consumers with a low-cost alternative to the use of money orders and check cashing establishments and serves as a way of bringing more people into the financial mainstream.”

    About the Massachusetts Community & Banking Council

    The Massachusetts Community & Banking Council (MCBC) was established in 1990 to encourage community investment in low- and moderate-income and minority neighborhoods. MCBC brings together community & bank representatives to promote a better understanding of the credit and financial needs of lower-income neighborhoods and provides information, assistance and guidance to banks and community groups in addressing those needs. MCBC is funded through the financial support of member banks.

    MCBC 2006 members banks include Avon Co-operative Bank, Bank of America, Bank of Canton, Belmont Savings Bank, Boston Private Bank & Trust Company, Braintree Cooperative Bank, Cape Ann Savings Bank, Central Bank, Chelsea-Provident Co-Operative Bank, Citizens Bank of Massachusetts, Dedham Institution for Savings, Eagle Bank, Eastern Bank, Everett Co-operative Bank, Fiduciary Trust Company, Hudson Savings Bank, Hyde Park Co-operative Bank, Hyde Park Savings Bank, Mellon New England, Mt. Washington Cooperative Bank, North Cambridge Co-operative Bank, Sovereign Bank, State Street Corporation, Stoneham Bank, TD Banknorth and Wainwright Bank.

    A full description of the Basic Banking for Massachusetts product guidelines and a bank sign-up form are available on MCBC’s website at www.masscommunityandbanking.org.


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