75% of our clients direct deposit their refund.


For many who visit our tax sites, the ritual of tax preparation provides an opportunity to enter the financial mainstream. Many clients who open bank accounts at our tax sites not only keep their accounts open for the long-term, but also build an ongoing relationship with the bank by purchasing other financial prod­ucts. 

Connecting our clients to safe financial products is therefore not only beneficial for the client, but also for the financial institution, as it brings a steady stream of viable customers.   

We rigorously vet all financial products offered to the families we serve and we seek financial partners who share our commitment to helping un- and under-banked individuals make long-term progress. We look forward to working with financial institutions interested in establishing financial service linkages for working families in Illinois.

CEP has adopted the national Bank On guidelines for appropriate accounts for un-banked and under-banked consumers. These include:

  • Low or no monthly fee (less than $15 required)
  • Low or no opening deposit requirement (less than $50 required)
  • No monthly minimum balance requirement
  • Provide a pathway to a checking account for individuals with Chex Systems records
  • Accept at least one form of alternative identification (for example, Foreign Passport, Mexican Consular Card, ITIN, etc.)
  • Free check cashing (at least two times per month)
  • Offer affordable bill payment options (less than $1.50 per bill)
  • Provide clear and brief explanation of banking basics and terminology in plain language
  • Offer Savings accounts – subject to eligibility requirements 

The Center for Economic Progress looks forward to working with new and existing financial partners on this exciting program. For more information, please contact Juan Villalobos via email.

We thank our 2015 partners.

First American Bank
First Midwest Bank

Guaranty Bank

North Star Credit Union
Second Federal Savings  
TCF Bank
Urban Partnership Bank