ATB Financial has entered into an agreement with Cashco Financial, which will allow the latter’s customers in Alberta greater access to ATB’s services, and at more convenient costs.
In a mid-February CNW press release, the financial services company announced that “Cashco customers can open transaction and savings accounts, make use of ATB ABMs, use the ATB Mobile Apps and acquire lower cost short and medium term credit.”
“Until now, many of these customers had no choice but to rely on payday loans. We're changing that,” ATB president and CEO Dave Mowat said. “With this new approach, Cashco customers will have access to a wider range of banking services from—and this is the important point—a company like Cashco that understands them and caters specifically to them.”
The announcement came in the wake of a report which found that 15 per cent of working Albertans do not have reliable access to regular banking services, conventional credit, short-term loans, and overdrafts—a situation that has led to many middle-class households struggling to service payments for mortgages and other expenses.
“[The] cost of living for lower and middle income earners has outpaced employment income growth. As a result, some Albertans often do not qualify for traditional credit products,” ATB stated in its news release. “[ATB] will provide the necessary capital to allow Cashco to reduce interest rates and provide longer-term flex loans.”
“Too many Albertans are essentially ‘underbanked’ – they are not accessing mainstream financial products and are reliant on fringe financial services like payday loans and cheque cashing,” according to Jeff Loomis, executive director of Momentum, a Calgary-based organization that works with low-income individuals.
“By working with Cashco and meeting customers where they are at, ATB is pursuing an innovative approach to increase access to safe and affordable financial products so that Albertans can build savings and achieve longer-term financial stability.”