BATON ROUGE,LA (NBC33) — "It feeds me," says Emily French. Emily French uses check-cashing facilities just to survive and pay the bills. She's not alone. More than nine million Americans don't have bank accounts. "The fees are high, most definitely. I'd rather get back into the old tradition again, but right now the market is scary," says French.
To try and change the minds of people like French. Mayor-President Kip Holden has teamed up with local banks to start the "Bank on Baton Rouge" program. "There are services being offered at banks and credit unions in Baton Rouge, whereby they can go and get money without having the risk and having all the other problems that you have in terms of check charges, that you're faced with at these other places where they go in order to get their checks cashed," says Holden.
So far 13 banks are part of the Bank on Baton Rouge program and Mayor-President Kip Holden says he hopes that 12,000 Baton Rouge citizens will leave check-cashing places to join these banks and he says if they do, it could be a ticket to a brighter future.
"We're trying to make sure that those who are poor know other aspects in life in which they can save money. By going along with banks and credit unions they can save $1000," says Holden.
But Emily French says until she starts not losing money with the banks, she's keeping money her money out of them,"I'm losing instead of gaining even interest . They're not offering much."