A Banking Service that’s Breaking down Barriers
A Banking Service that’s Breaking down the Barriers
Barriers to setting up a bank account are forcing people to seek out Downtown Community Ministry’s Street People Project banking programme.
Several recent people who have joined the programme have all found it difficult to provide the necessary documentation from mainstream banking services.
Banks generally require two forms of primary identification, one being a photo ID, to process an account application.
DCM’s banking programme coordinator Janice Coldicott says, “Many of the people we meet have little or no formal identification. Some who come to us after release from prison sometimes have nothing”.
“The photo ID is particularly uncommon amongst our service users and it’s often harder to get,” she says.
Director Stephanie McIntyre says, “Providing better access to banking and a service that meets client needs is one of the prime reasons why the Street People Project was set up all those years ago.”
“But we still want to challenge the rigid nature banks have when considering people we meet with these kinds of circumstances, she says.
In some situations, after consultation with the bank, DCM has been able to provide suitable documentation for banking organisations but the process is often time consuming.
Janice says, “It is disappointing that people are unable to participate in the banking system open to the general public. The bureaucracy they have to go through is difficult and unnecessarily prohibitive for this group of people.”
“But, in saying that, we are obviously happy to offer a banking service to people in these circumstances that approach us.”