LITTLE ROCK - Bank On Arkansas+ is offering access to certified checking accounts to ensure Arkansans are able to receive government-issued relief in a timely manner.


Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the IRS will distribute economic impact payments to help ease American’s COVID-19-related financial challenges. Those who are unable to receive funds through direct deposit may not receive paper checks until September.


“Since we formed Bank On Arkansas+ in 2018, we have focused on engaging Arkansans who still receive paper checks and are potentially unbanked,” said Kara Wilkins, the initiative’s director. “In the face of COVID-19, this has become an urgent need, and we are grateful to our participating banks and credit unions for providing economic relief for struggling families.”


In order to receive the IRS economic payments immediately, unbanked and underbanked Arkansans will need to open a bank account and provide their banking information through a secure IRS portal. With the help of participating Bank On Arkansas+ financial institutions—Bank of America, Diamond Lake Federal Credit Union, IBERIABANK, First Security Bank, US Bank, Simmons Bank, Southern Bancorp, Citizens Bank, Wells Fargo and Centennial Bank— these individuals can now open checking accounts, either online or in person by appointment, that have no overdraft fees; monthly minimums of $5 or less; free debit / ATM cards; and direct deposit options. Individuals may visit bankonar.org for details on how to start an account.


In March, Bank On Arkansas+ partnered with the City of Little Rock to assist nearly 200 city employees who were unable to physically obtain or deposit their paychecks due to COVID-19 restrictions. As Arkansans adjust to the impacts of this national emergency, Bank On will continue to work with nonprofits and municipalities to help those at financial risk.