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City Partners with ESL to Provide Access to Banking for Youth

In the Community: City of Rochester News Release  

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Managing money is a critical skill, and young people participating in the City of Rochester’s Summer of Opportunity (SOOP) jobs program will now have a chance to manage their own checking and savings accounts through ESL Federal Credit Union. 

“Access to a safe, affordable checking account is a key first step to living a financially healthy life. We are honored to be able to provide these accounts to, and work with, the youth participants in the program as they begin their financial journey,” said Caytie Bowser, Vice President/Director, Product Development and Management, ESL Federal Credit Union. 

“We are excited to partner with the City of Rochester to provide these accounts to Summer of Opportunity program participants.”

The initiative is part of a grant funded through the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund and seed funder the Citi Foundation, Summer Jobs Connect (https://cfefund.org/project/summer-jobs-connect/), that adds financial education, access to safe and affordable bank and credit union accounts, and direct deposit into existing Summer Youth Employment programs in 25 cities and counties. 

“Earning money is a great feeling, but so is watching what you’ve saved and keeping track of what you spend,” said Mayor Malik D. Evans. “Learning to manage checking and savings accounts is an important skill and a way we can help our young people on the road to success. I know the folks at ESL agree, and I am grateful they are willing to help our young people with this program.” 

The City will partner with Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Rochester to offer Go for Gold financial education to all Summer of Opportunity participants. For the pilot program, SOOP participants will have access to accounts that have no monthly maintenance fees, no minimum balance requirement and will be opted out of overdraft fees. 

The program will incentivize participants to split their paycheck deposits among their savings and checking accounts. Additionally, participants who are at least 16 years of age will receive an ESL Visa debit card to use at the financial institution’s more than 40 ATM locations, 23 branches and at merchants’ point-of-sale systems. Those under age 16 will have their parents as a joint custodian on their accounts and will also be offered a debit card. 

Brandee McHale, Head of Citi Community Investing and Development and President of the Citi Foundation said the Foundation recognizes how crucial early employment experiences and access to financial resources are in setting today’s young people up for long term success.

“Through our support for the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund as part of our Pathways to Progress commitment, we look forward to helping the next generation of leaders in Rochester develop the workplace and money management skills that will serve them well for the rest of their careers.” 

Plans for the future would expand the program to Rochester Works Summer Youth Employment participants and additional banking partners. For more details about the Summer of Opportunity Program, you can visit the following sites: https://www.cityofrochester.gov/SOOP/ or https://rocsummeryouth.com/.