Cash Relief ∙ Racial Equality

Universal Access to Financial Services

Nearly a million immigrant and low-income New Yorkers are unbanked or underbanked, locking them out of the banking system in the financial capital of the world. New York City is a sanctuary city — it has always been a refuge for immigrants, whether they are brand new to the United States, or if they have been here most of their lives. Millions of immigrants flock here because New York has promised they will be respected, cared for and get services they need. While the IDNYC program has enabled immigrants to develop a deeper sense of belonging as New Yorkers, the biggest banks in New York City continue to refuse to accept IDNYC as a valid source of identification, excluding the most vulnerable – the poor and the undocumented – from NYC’s financial system. This results in dependence on antiquated and overpriced services like check cashing, prepaid cards, or money transfers. Families on average pay over $600 per year just to cash checks.

To truly make New York City inclusive and equitable, we need to ensure that all New Yorkers, regardless of income or immigration status, have access to the financial services they need to thrive. 

As Mayor, Andrew Yang will use the City’s depositing power, and his position on the New York City Banking Commission to call on all New York City banks to allow low-income and immigrant communities to open bank accounts using IDNYC which would dramatically reduce the number of unbanked and underbanked New Yorkers. A Yang administration will ensure that banks that refuse to let undocumented New Yorkers open an account will not be allowed to serve as NYC Designated Banks, which are the only banks that can hold City deposits.

A Yang administration will also expand IDNYC to serve as a gateway to myriad city services like cash relief and access to a People’s Bank of New York City. Andrew is committed to working with his partners in Washington DC, such as Ritchie Torres, who partnered with Andrew to announce this plan and has long been a champion of New Yorkers in need.

The next mayor must guarantee that every New Yorker, regardless of immigration status, has access to the financial services they need, allowing them to truly be part of the City’s economy and social fabric. There is no place for financial discrimination in the financial capital of the world.