Building wealth for Illinoisans one account at a time

Illinois State Comptroller
Fiscal Focus
3 min readApr 1, 2024


Since the beginning of Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s administration in 2016, the Illinois Office of Comptroller has delivered on its mission to stabilize, improve, and build public confidence in the State of Illinois’s finances. In line with our mission

of responsible fiscal stewardship, we are proud to report that Bank On Illinois — our government program designed to provide access to checking and savings accounts to unbanked and underbanked Illinoisians — was once again incredibly successful in FY2023.

What exactly IS “Bank On Illinois”?

Established by Public Act 101–0427 in 2019 within the IOC, the purpose of Bank On Illinois is to make low-cost checking & savings accounts with no overdraft fees accessible to unbanked and underbanked Illinoisians. In order to accomplish this, our office works with banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions across the State with the help of the 13-member Bank On Illinois Commission. The Comptroller serves as chair.

What does it mean to be “unbanked” or “underbanked”?

From 2007–2022, income inequality in the United States has been steadily on the rise. This means there is an increasing disparity in income spread across a given population. Although the recent spike in income inequality finally leveled out over the past 2 years, working class households bore the brunt of the fiscal fallout over this time period that resulted from the Illinois 2015- 2017 budget impasse. One of the many major consequences of income inequality is increasing numbers of unbanked and underbanked households.

“Unbanked” households are households without a checking or savings account. As of June 2023, they represent close to 4.5% of American households — approximately 4.9 million adults in total. “Underbanked” households are households that still rely on fringe financial services, such as check cashers, payday/title loan lenders, and any other financial institution that preys on economically disadvantaged Americans by charging higher-than-average interest rates for their services. As of June 2023, close to 14.1% of American households fell into the category of “underbanked.”

Addressing the crisis of unbanked and underbanked households is also imperative to the IOC because a closer look at thenumbers reveal a greater systemic issue with banking access in the United States. While just under 12% of white households are considered unbanked or underbanked, 36% of Black households and 33.4% of Hispanic households nationally are considered unbanked or underbanked. The Illinois Office of Comptroller has a fiduciary duty to serve as the fiscal steward to the state of Illinois, and we are using our position and leveraging our resources to fight systemic racial inequality.

Is Bank On Illinois working? What has it done to help unbanked/underbanked households?

YES. We are proud to report that Bank On Illinois is working and has been an incredibly effective tool for chipping away at the crisis of unbanked and underbanked households in Illinois. With the help of 54 partnering banks and credit unions, over 470,000 new accounts have been opened in the state of Illinois through 2021.

Does my household qualify for Bank On Illinois?

If your household does not have a checking or savings account OR…
…you have money tied up with a check cashier, payday loan lender, or title loan lender…Then yes, you qualify! If you do, then don’t wait to act — take control of your life today by taking control of your finances. You can find a local financial institution near you that will help guide you through the process to set you and your loved ones up for a smart, sustainable fiscal future by visiting the following link:

We want to help you get your finances on track and build personal wealth here at the IOC. While the economic environment nationally constantly changes — inflation, interest rates, intermittent economic growth, and everything in between — you can rest assured that our Bank On Illinois will continue to focus on ensuring that the unbanked and underbanked residents of Illinois will get easy access to financial products such as checking and savings accounts, financial education, and other incentives to make them more empowered.



Illinois State Comptroller
Fiscal Focus

The official account for Illinois State Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza. Follow us for office services and #ILbudget updates.