EDMONTON, Sept. 25, 2017 /CNW/ - A new partnership between ATB Financial and Boyle Street Community Services is providing better banking access through a unique community agency called Four Directions Financial.
It uses biometric identification technology to make banking more accessible—a first for Alberta, and first in Canada to deploy this approach for the underbanked.
Four Directions Financial was born when ATB and Boyle Street came together to remove the banking barriers facing those living in poverty, and it led to a discussion on how biometric technology could help.
Biometric identification technology uses retinal and fingerprint scans to remove the need to carry identification or a debit card for our city's most vulnerable clients. Of the 500 clients of Four Directions Financial, 65 per cent use biometric identification to access their accounts.
"This unprecedented partnership with ATB has resulted in removing a significant barrier to banking, which has enabled our clients to take control of and protect their financial resources," said Julian Daly, Executive Director, Boyle Street Community Services.
The result of more than a year of consultation with inner-city agencies, Four Directions Financial aims to meet the unique financial needs of their clients.
In addition to biometrics technology, some of the other unique features of Four Directions Financial include daily restrictions on withdrawals that are set by the customer, direct deposit of government cheques, and making the agency open to everyone–not just clients at Boyle Street.
"We heard community members say they needed access to money every day, they needed it in small amounts every day, they wanted direct deposit for cheques whether from the government or not, they wanted people who didn't judge them, and they wanted all of this in a professional-looking, community-first, tradition-honouring place," said ATB Financial's President & CEO Dave Mowat.
Located next to Boyle Street Community Services, the name Four Directions Financial alludes to the traditional Plains First Nations Medicine Wheel. While tailored to inner-city clients, it's open to everyone living in the community.
Four Directions Financial is staffed and operated by Boyle Street Community Services, with ATB providing training and behind-the-scenes business support.
So far, over 500 clients have opened savings accounts. More than 30 per cent of Four Directions clients are now seeing savings in their accounts at the end of every month.
Watch this video for the stories of Four Directions Financial clients Bryan and Vicki.
About ATB Financial
With assets of $48.6 billion, ATB Financial is Alberta's largest home-grown financial institution. Established in 1938, ATB is a network of 173 branches, 143 agencies, a Customer Care Centre, two Entrepreneur Centres, along with mobile and online banking. ATB's more than 5,000 team members help more than 730,000 customers in 247 Alberta communities.
SOURCE ATB Financial
For further information: Connie Smart, Corporate Reporter, ATB Financial, 587-785-0915, [email protected]