WaterStone Bank has announced a new checking product, Stepping Stone®. The new checking product was officially certified by the national Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund) as meeting the Bank On National Account Standards (2021–2022). The national safe account standards, co-created by consumer advocates, leading national nonprofit organizations, civic leaders, and other financial institutions, designate both core and strongly recommended features that ensure low cost, high functionality, and consumer safety.
The CFE Fund’s Bank On National Account Standards Certification indicates that the new account meets over 25 features for safe and affordable consumer transaction accounts. Key features of the Stepping Stone® account include no monthly fee, no overdraft or nonsufficient fund fees, digital bill pay capabilities, and federal deposit insurance. Stepping Stone® Checking is available in all 14 WaterStone Bank branches and online.
“Stepping Stone® Checking provides access to bank services for those individuals in our community that to date have lacked that access,” said Doug Gordon, CEO of WaterStone Bank. “The Certification by Bank On further supports our efforts to help those individuals.”
“The Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund is delighted to award its national Bank On account certification to WaterStone Bank’s Stepping Stone® Checking,” said Jonathan Mintz, president and chief executive officer of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. “Stepping Stone® Checking offers Southeastern Wisconsin residents who are looking to improve their finances a safe, affordable, and truly useful mainstream banking product to access and manage their money. WaterStone Bank’s offering of this terrific account brings them into the forefront of national banking access efforts, and we thank them.”
The goal of Bank On is to ensure that everyone has access to safe and affordable financial products and services. The Bank On National Account Standards identify critical product features for appropriate bank or credit union accounts, making it easier for local coalitions across the country to connect consumers to accounts that meet their needs.
With the addition of Stepping Stone® Checking, accounts that meet Bank On National Account Standards are now available at over 39,000 branches in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.; financial institutions with Bank On certified accounts already comprise over 56% of the national deposit market share. In addition to Stepping Stone® Checking, there are over 200 other Bank On certified accounts available at financial institutions across the country. Data collected by the CFE Fund in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis through Bank On’s national reporting platform shows that these accounts are meeting consumers’ needs; since their offering, millions of consumers have opened Bank On certified accounts, with approximately 85% of them opened by consumers new to the financial institutions.
The CFE Fund leads the national Bank On movement, supporting 90 local coalitions working to connect individuals and families to the financial mainstream through partnerships between governments, financial institutions, and community organizations.