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First State chosen for pilot study

First State chosen for pilot study

Posted: Monday, April 4, 2011 6:02 pm

First State Bank was recently selected by the FDIC as one of only nine banks across the United States to participate in the FDIC Model Safe Accounts Pilot.  
The selection was the result of a competitive process that was based, in part, on First State’s reputation for sound operations and strong commitment to community involvement.  
The pilot is a case study designed to evaluate the best practices of banks offering safe, low-cost transactional and savings accounts that are responsive to the needs of underserved consumers.
“Our goal is to highlight accounts that are not only safe and affordable for the over one-quarter of consumers who are not fully utilizing mainstream banks but also are feasible for banks’ bottom lines,” FDIC Chairman Sheila C. Bair said.
Access to mainstream financial services at an insured institution provides consumers with a safe place to save, conduct basic financial transactions affordably, build a credit history and access credit on favorable terms and achieve financial security, according to Ms. Bair.
The nine financial institutions selected to participate in the pilot will offer electronic deposit accounts with core product features identified in the FDIC Model Safe Accounts Template.
First State Bank is now offering its new Safe Checking and Safe Savings accounts to people who currently do not have or never had a banking relationship.
These low-cost, checkless accounts provide previously-unbanked customers with a VISACheckCard, free on-line banking and bill pay, direct deposit, free electronic statements, automatic savings transfers and other services including free financial education resources.
First State Bank has partnered with local non-profit organizations to reach consumers who may benefit from the Safe Checking and Safe Savings accounts.
These organizations are sharing information about the accounts with their clients and others who are seeking financial stability.
The partnering non-profit organizations include the University of Tennessee Extension Service in Madison, Dyer, Gibson, Weakley and Henderson counties, West Tennessee Legal Services in Jackson and serving most West Tennessee counties, We Care Ministries in Martin and Reelfoot Rural Ministries.
“In conducting personal finance education, I often encounter individuals who got off to a rocky start with financial management and banking relationships,” Amy Elizer, extension agent with the UT Extension Service in Madison County, said. “Unfortunately these situations have created barriers for these individuals that may haunt them throughout their lives.  First State’s program offers a fresh start for those who have a few financial blemishes.”
First State Bank has 27 full-service banking locations in 22 communities throughout West, Middle and East Tennessee.
First State Bank is owned by Community First Bancshares Inc., a holding company headquartered in Union City.
First State Bank also operates a mortgage company, an insurance company, a specialized agricultural services division, an employee benefits division, investment services, a consumer finance company, and an indirect auto financing division at various locations across the state.
The banking company currently has assets totaling more than $1.5 billion.

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