Community Financial Resources (CFR) has always actively tracked the impact of our products on the communities we serve through de-identified transactional data. Starting in 2021, we will publish these insights more frequently. Check our blog regularly for the latest insights on savings, debt, income, spending patterns, the real-life impacts of COVID-19 on working families, the impact of government stimulus payments, and the significance of our VITA program.
Active Focus Card Accounts in 2019 and 2020: 2019 on average had over 4,200 active Focus Cardholders per month, you’ll notice we had a significant increase in cardholders in March of 2019 due to our VITA program. In 2020, we had an average of over 4,500 cardholders per month, with an increase in April of 2020. This increase in part was due to our COVID-19 Emergency Response and Recovery Program and our push to ensure those who didn’t have direct deposit for their stimulus payments got banked.
The State of Deposits in 2019 and 2020: The early months of 2020 started strong, with deposits averaging slightly above those made in 2019. When March arrived, we saw a drop in deposits due to the pandemic, followed by a sharp increase in April as stimulus payments, tax refunds, unemployment, and cash assistance from CFR’s COVID-19 Emergency Response and Recovery Program kicked in.
The State of Withdrawals in 2019 and 2020: 2020 was a challenging year. You’ll notice the state of withdrawals were up considerably from 2019, peaking during the beginning of the pandemic, then stabilizing later in the year. The majority of withdrawals went towards paying for basic necessities such as food, housing supplies, and utilities.
The State of Savings in 2019 and 2020: CFR saw greater volatility in our cardholder’s savings accounts in 2020 than in 2019. In the spring of 2020, we saw an increase in savings due to the flow of cash assistance to our cardholders. However, when unemployment benefits stopped in July of 2020, members began to pull from savings. Focus Cardholders ended 2020 on a high note, ending the year with a positive net savings month.
Check back next month for more insights!