Cicilline launches push to sign residents up for bank accounts

Providence, R.I. – Providence Mayor David Cicilline has launched a program aimed at getting the city's poorest residents to open bank accounts.

It is estimated that 12,000 Providence residents rely on costly check cashing services.

The mayor's intiative, known as operation opportunity, will connect them to low cost banking services. The goal, says Cicilline, is to provide the poor with low cost alternatives to access their own money.

"There are low cost and no cost accounts," Cicilline says. "They will have accounts that have low opening balance requirements. They have either very low or no required minimum balance and they accept a broad array of identification to open accounts."

Operation opportunity is modeled after a similar program in San Francisco. Locally, eight banks and credit unions will promote the program.