Discover Bank, PNC Bank Win CBA’s 2018 Joe Belew Award

Orlando, Florida (March 14, 2017) – The Consumer Bankers Association (CBA) today presented the eighth annual Joe Belew Award to Discover Bank for its Bank on Wheels program and PNC Bank for its Community Connections Center. This year, the award honors CBA member banks with the most innovative and impactful program serving underbanked and unbanked consumers. The winners were selected by CBA’s Community Reinvestment Committee from a record 12 entries from nine banks.

This marks the second year Discover has won the Joe Belew Award, which recognizes outstanding community development efforts, and the third straight year PNC has won.

“CBA’s member banks are committed to making basic banking services accessible for the millions of underbanked and unbanked consumers across the country. These two innovative and exemplary programs expand access to necessary financial products and services for those who need them most. This year, we are pleased to honor two outstanding banks – PNC and Discover – with the Joe Belew Award and we thank them for their commitment to bringing consumers into the banking system,” said Sue Whitson, CRA Governance Manager at BMO Harris Bank, who also serves as CBA’s Community Reinvestment Committee Chair.

Discover’s Bank on Wheels program provides low-and-moderate income citizens in Wilmington, DE with access to “no-barrier savings accounts” (Share Accounts) and financial education. Share accounts accepts direct deposits and provide free-of-charge access to the largest ATM network in the city of Wilmington, thereby eliminating the need for check cashers and pre-paid debit cards. The program was developed in partnership with Barclays Bank, WSFS Bank, Stepping Stone Community Federal Credit Union and Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council.


“It is a wonderful achievement for Discover to once again be recognized with CBA’s Joe Belew Award for our community development efforts,” said James Roszkowski, President of Discover Bank. “We are proud to say our Bank on Wheels program has helped many residents in the City of Wilmington gain needed access to the banking system and we look forward to continuing to build a strong bond with the local community.”


“Receiving CBA’s Joe Belew Award is a testament to the good work of our employees and partners,” said Amy Walls, Assistant CRA Director at Discover, who oversees Discover’s Bank on Wheels program. “Since the program began, we set out with a simple goal: To provide banking products and services to the residents of Wilmington who need them most. I am proud of the benefits the program has given local community.”


PNC Bank, in partnership with the Choanoke Area Development Association of North Carolina, developed the Community Connections Center. To date, the center has provided over 300 low-and-moderate income individuals from the surrounding community of Rich Square, NC with free-of-charge access to digital and mobile banking, online classes, financial education, college preparation tools and professional development.

“It is an honor to be recognized with the prestigious Joe Belew Award for three years in a row,” said Todd Barnhart, Executive Vice President and Head of Retail Distribution at PNC, who also serves on CBA’s Board of Directors. “We are committed to the financial well-being of all citizens in the communities that we serve. With millions of underbanked and unbanked consumers across the country, PNC is especially proud of our collaboration with the PNC Community Connections Center to ensure that our neighbors have secure access to electronic banking, financial education and professional development opportunities.”

“Receiving CBA's Joe Belew Award is an honor as it acknowledges the hard work and dedication that our team members and community partners display each and every day,” said Lori Jones Gibbs, Senior Vice President, Community Development Banking Market Manager and Carolinas Market Manager – North and South Carolina at PNC. “The financial well-being of the greater Rich Square community is important to PNC. I am proud to accept this award on behalf of PNC and I look forward to continuing to help our customers and improve their access to basic banking services.”

PNC Bank and Discover Bank each received $5,000 from CBA to donate to the non-profit program partner of their choice.

Joe Belew Award Runner Ups

Bank of the West: Launched SaverLife San Francisco, in partnership with the nonprofit EARN, to create a community campaign designed to raise awareness of savings and to motivate low-and moderate income individuals to start savings.


BMO Harris Bank: Introduced an affordable mortgage program tool, which helps educate communities and ensure underbanked and unbanked clients are aware of homeownership support; including, down payment assistance, grants and financing options.


Citi Bank (Submission 1): Collaborated with Grameen America to help alleviate poverty for low-income immigrant women by providing small-dollar loans to support the creation of micro-enterprises. In addition to providing philanthropic support for Grameen America’s operations, Citi works closely with the organization to provide its clients – more than 90 percent of whom are self-employed minorities living in underserved neighborhoods – with savings accounts with fees waived.


Citi Bank (Submission 2): Launched the Ventanilla de Asesoría Financiera (Financial Empowerment Window) program to offers free, high-quality, and culturally competent financial counseling in-house at the Mexican Consulate, leveraging the existing trust and use of the consulate by Mexican families to provide financial information and resources. The program has been expanded to 42 cities.


KeyBank: Developed KeyBank Plus, a low-cost check cashing service allowing individuals to cash a paycheck, tax refund or government check without a traditional bank account. KeyBank Plus is available in 270 branches in 14 markets throughout KeyBank’s 15-state footprint.


MUFG Union: Operate five full-service student run bank branches located in low-to-moderate income communities. The branches are run by ten to twelve student interns with the support of a branch manager and branch service officer. Students receive classroom credit, a stipend and job skills. Over 150 students have participated in the program.


PNC Bank (Submission 2): Created a community-wide financial empowerment network where, no matter how a client enters for services, resources and assistance will be provided. It provides access to safe and affordable financial services – and ultimately build assets and financial stability.


Santander Bank: Partnered with New York City’s Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) to provide affordable bank accounts based on the bank’s Student Value Checking account and Santander Youth Savings Account. SYEP serves more than 60,000 youth each summer and more than 70 percent come from low-and-moderate income households.


Woodforest National Bank (Submission 1): Formed a private-public venture with Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) to expand low-and-moderate income homeownership though an innovative $10 million loan agreement that increased access to down payment assistance and closing cost funds.


Woodforest National Bank (Submission 2): Created several credit products designed to help low–and–moderate income consumers and small businesses with a low or nonexistent credit history obtain credit.

About the Joe Belew Award

The Joe Belew Award was established in 2011 in memory of Joe Belew, former CBA president, to honor his commitment to community development.  The annual award recognizes a CBA member bank which continues that legacy. Citizens Bank, Discover Bank, First Niagara Financial Group, PNC Financial Services and Wells Fargo are past winners of the award and recipients are selected by a volunteer subgroup of the CBA Community Reinvestment Committee. The focus of the Joe Belew Award changes annually. Past award winners were recognized for job creation, low-and moderate-income housing programs, financial education, financial inclusion, digital access to financial services and support programs to serve service members, veterans and their families.


About CBA

The Consumer Bankers Association is the only national trade focused exclusively on retail banking. Established in 1919, the association is now a leading voice in the banking industry and Washington, representing members who employ nearly two million Americans, extend roughly $3 trillion in consumer loans, and provide $270 billion in small business loans.