Barclays to Help Set Up Bank Accounts for English Prisoners Nearing Release
Here’s an interesting item from across the pond:
Barclays is to become the first major bank to offer basic accounts to prisoners reaching the end of their sentence.
Working with Unlock – the National Association of Reformed Offenders – the bank will give basic financial training and help with application forms for a Barclays account through charity staff in prisons.
Any thoughts, readers? While I like the idea of providing some type of financial literacy outreach to prisoners nearing release — particularly since many prisoners may have missed the transition to online banking, the rise of overdraft fees and easy high-interest credit, the payday loan industry, etc. — I would also be very wary of American banks forming any type of “partnership” with American prisons. Phone companies have already demonstrated how gleefully corporations will take to gouging prisoners and their families if given an entree, and it’s not as though banks have acquitted themselves particularly well in recent years when it comes to serving financially unsophisticated, low-income individuals.