Some NYCHA residents have a new option for cashing checks and paying bills. NY1's Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following "Money Matters" report.
With no bank for miles around, some New York City Housing Authority residents are using a new bank kiosk to cash checks and pay bills.
It looks like an ATM machine, but it’s actually a CashAccess kiosk, the latest way Carver Federal Savings Bank is reaching out to otherwise underserved communities.
Michael Pugh, president and chief operating officer of Carver Federal Savings Bank, said the bank is looking for, “underbanked customers or unbanked customers, customers that may not have a primary banking account.”
Unfortunately, that describes a large portion of the residents at the Bay View Houses in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn.
“The nearest banking institution was over two-and-a-half miles away so this is really an opportunity to bring these services closer to home,” said Sideya Sherman of NYCHA.
The CashAccess machine in Canarsie is one of four the bank operates. Others are located in Harlem and on Fulton Street in Brooklyn. The machines, which charge fees comparable to those found at a check casher, offer a wide menu of services.
“Customers have the option to pay bills, wire money, make their NYCHA rent payments,” Pugh said.
So far, residents have made 200 rent payments at the CashAccess machine at the Bay View Houses.
“Come out of your house, walk down the block and pay your rent,” said Jacqueline Picket, who lives at Bay View. “You don't have to get on a bus. You don't have to travel places to pay. It's right here.”
And so is her job. Picket is one of two residents hired to help her neighbors navigate the kiosk. In total, Carver has hired eleven NYCHA residents to help their neighbors with the machines.
“That made us very happy because who better to take those jobs than those who live in the developments,” said Deborah Wright, chief executive officer of Carver.
Right now, this is the only kiosk located in a NYCHA residence. However, bank officials say they'll be placing two additional machines in housing residences in the South Bronx and Brownsville in the coming year.
Carver and their collaborators at NYCHA see the machines as a way to start a broader conversation.
“We see rent payment with an established financial institution as a tool to really connect people to more mainstream financial products and services,” said Sherman.
So far, it seems they are pressing all the right buttons.
“Over 40 percent of the folks who are using the machines have already opened a bank account, which is extraordinary,” said Wright.
For more information about the kiosks, call 718-230-2900.