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Santander Bank's policy changes will benefit low-income consumers

By Mark Payne | Feb 24, 2015

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman | New York Attorney General's Office

Santander Bank, N.A., will adopt new business practices that will allow more New Yorkers to open bank accounts by the end of September, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced last week.  

The bank will change its screening policies for its ChexSystems, which is a consumer agency that reports and screens consumers looking to open any type of bank account, including savings and checking.

ChexSystems is a database system that is used by large banks to look at consumers’ banking history. If a consumer is deemed to be a credit risk, the customers are most likely to be denied a new account. These databases typically will notice even the smallest infraction, including bounced checks, which negatively impacts a large proportion of low-income consumers.

“No one should be denied a bank account because of a bounced check from years ago,” Schneiderman said. “Denials like these force low-income Americans—and New Yorkers in particular—to resort to high-cost alternatives to banks, simply because of a small financial misstep in the past. I commend Santander, following Capital One and Citibank, for stepping up and working with us to help eliminate unnecessary barriers to the mainstream financial system. I urge other banks to do the same. For those banks who refuse to cooperate like these have, more aggressive action may be necessary.”

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