BankCal: New California bill seeks to create free bank without penalties and fees

California
Pedestrians walk past an ATM at a boarded up US Bank branch, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in downtown Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Pedestrians walk past an ATM at a boarded up US Bank branch, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in downtown Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Escalating overdraft charges. Minimum balances. High ATM, check-cashing and debit card fees.

Banking can be expensive, especially for low-wage workers.

A score of California lawmakers has signed on to a new bill designed to offer Golden State households free financial services, taking on the state’s powerful banks at a time when easier access to banking services could help families cope with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If it passes, the California Public Banking Option Act would create BankCal, the first state government program in the nation to offer universal consumer banking, according to financial policy experts. The program would provide no-fee debit cards, direct deposits from employers and government agencies, electronic bill payment and ATM access, directly competing with private banks.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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