PNC to Bring Mobile Services to Underserved D-FW Communities

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PNC Bank brings a mobile branch to North Texas communities that lack sufficient access to banking services.

The 30 foot mobile unit looks like an RV. It has a one-driver cabin, four wheels and a trailer-like body. But, it is equipped to be a functional banking service and was custom built for this initiative.

Residents will have access to ATM deposit and withdrawal cash, including the ability to withdraw $1 bills. They will be able to receive or replace debit cards, open bank accounts, apply for loans and more. Inside the unit, residents can discuss their finances with a banker in a private office space.

The mobile branch is equipped with security cameras, a retractable awning to protect customers from the sun and a wheelchair accessible assistance button. The banking unit also has its own generator and satellite, which allows it to operate in the event of a disaster.

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Whether or not a customer is banking with PNC, they can use the mobile branch and services can be provided in English and Spanish.

The mobile arm visits partner nonprofits every two weeks with three-year contracts that can be renewed if both parties agree. Each nonprofit organization hosting the Mobile Branch can provide specific information about the dates and times when they will be available.

PNC Bank’s new mobile bank features a fully functional ATM in Dallas on Monday, July 11, 2022.(Liesbeth Powers/Staff Photographer)

Residents can use mobile banking services to avoid predatory lending practices, such as cash lending services, said Brendan McGuire, North Texas PNC regional chairman.

The purpose of the mobile branch, McGuire said, is to empower and educate users about the banking resources available to them.

“We can take this branch to community centers in low-to-moderate income communities to help serve the residents of this neighborhood and not only provide them with banking solutions, but provide them with the ability to improve their financial well-being,” McGuire said.

McGuire said PNC works closely with community partners to tailor solutions to each community and build trust with residents who fear banking.

Mobile banking is part of PNC’s $88 billion community benefits plan, which was announced in April 2021 to support minority and low-income areas.

“We really invest in our communities to make them stronger,” McGuire said. “We are now the fourth largest bank in the region, and what we have been able to do is implement our traditional banking strategy in an innovative way.”

The mobile branch will serve several community centers in the area, including Jubilee Park and Community Center, CitySquare, Foundation Communities, United MegaCare/TD Jakes Ministries, Texas Wesleyan University, LVTRise and Hunger Busters.

PNC has piloted mobile banking in Detroit, Baltimore, and Chicago, and there are plans to expand to other parts of Texas as well.

Banking is different for residents of all Dallas neighborhoods. Residents are “underbanked” when they do not have sufficient access to banking resources. For example, if a neighborhood does not have a bank, residents often rely on non-traditional forms of banking like cash lending services. Residents are “unbanked” when they have no bank account at all.

Brendan McGuire explains the features of PNC Bank's new mobile banking, which is equipped...
Brendan McGuire explains the features of PNC Bank’s new mobile banking, which features a fully functional ATM at one of the banks branches in downtown Dallas on Monday, July 11, 2022. (Liesbeth Powers/Staff Photographer)

In 2019, about 5.4% of US households were unbanked, according to a report by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Black households accounted for 13.8% of unbanked households; Hispanic households accounted for 12.2%; white households were 2.5%; disabled households of working age were 16.2%.

In Texas, 7.7% of the state was unbanked in 2019, according to the FDIC.

Urooj Khan, an associate professor at the University of Texas at the Austin McCombs School of Business, said some people don’t bank because they don’t trust the financial institution and fear being taken advantage of. Other challenges people face with banking services include language barriers and unfamiliarity with internet-based online services.

He said solutions such as mobile banking have been tested in other cities across the country and have the potential to be successful.

But in addition to community efforts, there must be education to promote financial inclusion, he said, particularly about the dangers of using payday loan services that take advantage of customers with high interest rates. high interest.

“You need to look for alternative channels through which you can offer these services,” he said. “However, simply offering a branch is not the only way to ensure that it succeeds. I think educating people about banking [and] money management is just as important.

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Mary Tillman-Young, Foundation Communities’ director of culture and engagement, said the partnership with PNC has been a “huge asset.” Foundation Communities is a low-income housing organization that hosts the mobile branch at its Sleepy Hollow and Shadow Brook locations in Arlington.

Tillman-Young said access to resources is often a barrier for residents at their Arlington locations because there is virtually no public transportation. It is therefore important to have the PNC mobile branch on site at their locations.

“It’s not just mobile banking, it’s not just ATM services, it’s not just financial literacy, but they bring all of those things together with a focus on educating people. residents. It’s a huge plus,” she said.

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