BankPlus wins national recognition for the unconventional

RIDGELAND, Miss. — BankPlus is a Mississippi banking institution taking a different approach to unconventional banking customers. For underserved Mississippians who have neither a checking or savings account, this is a critical service.

Belzoni, Mississippi’s BankPlus has been recognized at the state level for its approach to customers who previously thought traditional banking out of their reach. The privately owned company received the American Bankers Association Community Commitment Award in the “Nontraditional Borrower and Underbanked” category recently in Los Angeles.

“Underbanked” is someone who relies consistently on non-traditional financial services such as check cashing services, payday loans and rent-to-own loan services. These services normally come with hefty fees and penalties attached. “Unbanked” is someone without a checking or savings account. Mississippi leads the nation in the “Underbanked” category, with 25.2 percent of its population. Over 16 percent of its population is considered “unbanked”.

BankPlus is steering customers towards more helpful, less predatory banking practices. With the incentive to gain mainstream financial services, customers complete a three-hour financial literacy class to be eligible. With BankPlus’s CreditPlus program, clients gain access to traditional banking options — and it’s showing results.

BankPlus received the Community Commitment Award thanks to its CreditPlus program. The program allows small, short-term loans as an alternative to high-interest payday loans. The loans have a period of maximum two years. The program is also part of helping the customer develop a regular savings plan.

Since launching the program, BankPlus has enrolled over 22,000 “underbanked” customers. BankPlus has also not closed a single branch in the years since the financial crisis of the last decade.

BankPlus was chosen from more than 200 bank entries nationwide for this honor.

Source: Mississippi Business Journal


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Devon Green

Devon Green is an anthropologist by training and a lifelong lover of the written word. She became ​a ​reporter quite by accident when she started a blog documenting her day-to-day life in Macau and exploring Southeast Asia by bus, bike and the back of a motorbike. Upon r...