Bank of America to offer payday-style loans | Articles

Bank of America will begin to offer small, shortterm loans to cash-strapped customers, the Charlotte-based bank announced earlier this month, a move that could upend the market for short-term loans.

The loans, called Balance Assist, will have a $500 limit, and will only be available to people who have had a checking account at the bank for at least a year. The roll-out will start in a handful of to-be-announced states by January 2021 before expanding to the rest of the country early next year.

The move makes Bank of America — with its tens of millions of customers — one of the biggest financial institutions to have a small-dollar consumer loan.

It’s a space historically dominated by payday lenders and other consumer finance outlets, who gained seedy reputations for their high fees. Regulators have urged banks to get into small-dollar lending for years, and in May issued guidance prodding banks to help consumers hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Clients were telling us that they can’t make it quite there from paycheck to paycheck. So, this is a bridge,” said Steve Boland, Bank of America’s retail head, in an interview. The bank wanted all of its customers to do all their banking at the bank, he said, and not with higher-cost alternatives.

Bank of America’s loans — which cost $5 regardless of their size — will be paid back over 90 days inmonthly installments. Customers are only allowed to have one out at a time, and can repay the loan early without penalty.

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Gift Card Bank Partners with Excella for Unique Philanthropy Supporting Families in Need During Covid-19

ARLINGTON, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Gift Card Bank, a Bay Area nonprofit focused on utilizing gift cards to support those in need, is partnering with Excella—a pioneer for Agile technology solutions—to help support the well-being and financial security of people affected by Covid-19. Through this partnership, Excella has applied its Agile software development and product management expertise to create a state-of-the-art online platform that allows Gift Card Bank to identify, verify, and support families on a national scale.

As part of its mission to support those struck by Covid-19, Gift Card Bank aggregates unused and donated gift cards from individuals, philanthropists, grocers, and retailers, and identifies people and families who need support through food banks and other fintech platforms. Once identified, Gift Card Bank securely distributes gift cards to those families during their greatest time of need.

The brainchild of Khalil Fuller, Gift Card Bank was founded in March in response to those being affected by the Covid-19 global pandemic. Fuller, a graduate student at Stanford University, saw an opportunity in the $95 billion gift card market to help people.

“In the gift card market, $3 billion dollars’ worth of these gift cards go unused each year, and I saw this massive opportunity to help others in need,” said Khalil Fuller, Founder of Gift Card Bank. “When we started GCB, it was a manual process, but with our partnership with Excella, we have created a true platform that allows us to scale our ability to help get this “lost money” into the hands of those who need it–especially as low-income families and communities of color continue to be the most affected groups by Covid-19.”

Since its inception, Gift Card Bank has received over 2,000 gift cards from top-tier companies and has helped over 400 families. Khalil and team have surpassed their goal to disburse over $35,000 by the end of September and will begin scaling nationally in the Fall.

“Last month, I actually ran out of food stamps and didn’t have anything left for groceries. Thanks to Gift Card Bank’s gift, I was able to buy food for the week for me and my son. I am truly grateful.”

~Shadee, GCB recipient in Texas

“We saw the mission that Gift Card Bank had to help those in need and knew we could use our expertise to answer their ask for support,” said Claire Walsh, Vice President of Engineering and Services, Excella. “The energy and passion for this cause by Excellians has been inspiring, and has helped propel the team over the last few months to help Gift Card Bank use technology to maximize the impact they can have for families in need.”

Excella has over 18 years of experience successfully leading Agile Transformations, modernizing legacy IT systems, and delivering artificial intelligence solutions to leading organizations, federal agencies, and nonprofits.

About Gift Card Bank

Our mission is to improve well-being and financial security by supporting people through their time of greatest need. Gift Card Bank has created a platform to aggregate