Immigrant Banking

Immigrant communities are important contributors to the Texas economy. Access to mainstream banking services is a key part of full participation in the state economy. It enables families to safely save, invest, and build assets in their new home.

In 2000, most recent immigrants and many low-income workers lacked bank accounts — setting themselves up as targets for robbery on payday when they have cash in their pocket. To reduce these types of crimes and encourage greater financial stability, Texas Appleseed worked with law enforcement, banks and credit unions, financial regulators, and with national Appleseed and Appleseed centers in Alabama, Chicago, Georgia, Louisiana and Nebraska to improve access to formal financial services for the unbanked.

Our Work: Texas Appleseed’s groundbreaking efforts to bank the unbanked attracted international attention — with invitations to present our findings in Mexico, the European Union, and Benin, Africa. We developed key resources and guides for financial institutions interested in reaching new immigrant markets and guides for families on how to navigate a new financial services system. Our work focused on market-based efforts to integrate newcomers into the financial services mainstream.

Results: In the years before the financial crisis of 2008, we saw important strides in Texas to better integrate new immigrants into mainstream financial services. Based on our market research, we documented increased acceptance of foreign identification to open accounts and expanded access to home mortgage and personal loan products. We partnered with local organizations, banks, and credit unions to distribute thousands of our financial education materials to families across the state. Nationwide, in partnership with other Appleseed centers, we distributed about half a million copies of our financial education brochures. In the wake of the 2008 recession, we issued a report on the home mortgage crisis in Texas triggered by sub-prime lending. Our report was used as a resource, as Texas analyzed the local impacts of the crisis and pushed for solutions.


  • Texas Appleseed Invited to Present Research at International Conference in Benin and the European Union. In 2007, Texas Appleseed presented the results of our financial education efforts to reach new immigrants in the U.S. We shared the successful distribution of over half a million copies of our materials to assist new immigrants to understand and navigate the U.S. financial services system.
  • Appleseed Reaches 500,000: Distribution of Financial Education Materials to Help New Immigrants Successfully Use the US Financial Services System. Texas Appleseed spearheaded the development of financial education materials to guide new immigrants through the U.S. financial services system. Through partnerships with local organizations and financial institutions in Texas and other states, we reached a milestone of distribution of half a million copies of the Appleseed-developed materials. The Appleseed materials have been adapted to support “Bank On” campaigns and other efforts to educate underbanked consumers.
  • FDIC Launches Texas New Alliance Task Force to Engage New Immigrants in the Financial Services Mainstream. The FDIC, working in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and with the support of Texas Appleseed, launched the Texas New Alliance Task Force, modeled after a successful FDIC initiative in Chicago. This initiative has expanded to include all underserved communities and is now called the Texas Alliance for Economic Inclusion. The Alliance works to bring together community stakeholders in support for better financial services for underserved communities.