BALTIMORE — This week Chase Bank celebrates a year since opening the doors of their newest branch in the Cherry Hill community in Baltimore.
Reducing poverty and creating a path toward wealth are goals hard to achieve without access to a bank, but Chase is celebrating a year here in Cherry Hill where they’ve been able to make those goals a reality for folks here.
For decades residents in Cherry Hill— one of the oldest predominantly black neighborhoods in the country— struggled as a banking desert.
That was until Chase opened their branch in the neighborhood a year ago apart of an initiative to help underserved communities.
“We have so many that came in and said I’m happy there’s finally a branch or bank in my town. I no longer have to leave Cherry Hill just to get the financial resources we offer,” said Chris Forgenie with Chase.
The absence of a bank has a crucial impact on individual's finances leaving a costly void in information, access and education.
“It caused them to not specifically know how to manage to funds and manage money when they do run into money and when they have an opportunity to actually gain wealth," said Melvin Collins with Chase. "That’s going to be missing because that educational piece is not there.”
Collins says he’s been happy seeing the light bulbs going off as he offers tools in finances residents in Cherry Hill are able to finally access.
“We’re able to educate folks from throughout the community on the various ways for them to build credit, for them to really start savings and for them to have a plan going forward as it relates to their financial health and financial freedom,” he said.
Financial Health and freedom those new to banking are getting to learn about first-hand many for the first time
“If it’s their first time buying a car what’s needed to buy a car? If it’s their first time opening up a checking account how do you use a checking account, set a budget? We offer so many resources to those in the community that was never offered prior to us being here,” said Forgenie.
The bank offers training tools they hope customers will take advantage of as they prepare to expand.
The bank is building off the Cherry hill model to operate more than 20 branches in the Baltimore area in the next few years, including opening a Community Center branch in West Baltimore next fall— increasing access where it’s needed most.