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- Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban teamed up with Jill Castilla, CEO of Citizens Bank of Edmond, to create an overdraft line program for the bank’s members who are waiting for their stimulus checks.
- Members can overdraft their accounts by up to $900, which can help them make ends meet as the coronavirus takes a financial toll on the community of Edmond, Oklahoma.
- Cuban and Castilla were able to launch the program in just a few days.
- Cuban encourages other banks to follow Castilla’s lead: “Why have you waited?” Cuban says. “Call Jill, follow her lead, and get it done.”
- Read more personal finance coverage »
In late March, customers of Citizens Bank of Edmond were eagerly awaiting their stimulus checks of $1,200 or more, but many citizens of the Oklahoma City suburb needed access to money quickly — sooner than the checks would arrive.
CEO Jill Castilla tried waiving overdraft fees, but customers continued to struggle.
Then Castilla saw a tweet by Mark Cuban with the hashtag #CoronaKarma on March 26:
The tweet read:
“Anyone know a very agile FDIC, SBA Preferred Lender Bank that I can work with to get cash advances into people’s hands ASAP, backed by their $1200 government pay? The 3 week wait is too long. Let’s help people now. #CoronaKarma”
“It just seemed like it was a kindred spirit that was walking the same path that we were,” Castilla told Business Insider.
She reached out to Cuban on Twitter with her contact information. Not long after, someone texted her Cuban’s email address, so she followed up with an email. “He emailed me back almost immediately,” Castilla said.
Together, Cuban and Castilla developed a plan to help the community of Edmond, Oklahoma.
The program went into action in less than a week
Cuban and Castilla exchanged multiple emails and phone calls to discuss ways Citizens Bank could allow customers to access funds before receiving their stimulus checks, and formed an overdraft line program that allows eligible customers to overdraw $900 from their accounts without paying overdraft fees or interest on the amount they borrow through the end of April. Castilla’s team will consider extending that policy if the financial impact of the coronavirus continues to be severe.
Whereas people who take out a loan would normally have to pay a bank interest on the amount they borrow, an overdraft line allows people to access money without paying interest later. The money from stimulus checks will replenish people’s accounts, so the overdraft line is like a payment advance.
Some customers had already been overdrawing their accounts in the weeks leading up to the program launch. But with an official program in place, customers now know they can overdraw by $900. “It gives them the ability to have basically a bank’s backstop that items will clear up to that amount,” Castilla said.
Customers can request an overdraft line on the bank’s website, and the staff approves the request as quickly as they can. People can access up to $900 within a couple hours, rather than waiting weeks for their stimulus checks to be deposited by the government.
Castilla clarifies that customers don’t so much “apply” for the program as they “request” access to the program. As long as the person requesting has been with Citizens Bank for at least 12 months, is in good standing with the bank, and knows they will receive their stimulus check by direct deposit, they can expect to be approved.
Castilla said working with Cuban was ‘like an episode of ‘Shark Tank”
Many people know Cuban as one of the investors in “Shark Tank,” a reality TV show in which entrepreneurs pitch ideas to a panel of investors who decide whether they want to invest in the contestants’ companies.
“It was very much like an episode of ‘Shark Tank,'” said Castilla. “There was a little bit of a pitch from me, and then some investigative questions. Then some of his ideas, and we kind of ended it there with me having some things to go research and he was going to get back to me.”
They had originally talked about offering a loan program for customers, but when Cuban called her back, he brought his own idea: an overdraft program.
“Then we very quickly were able to collaborate and get on the same page as to what a structure or program could look like,” Castilla said. “Then I outlined it for him, and then he provided some feedback really quickly. Then I provided my final email about it. Very, very rapid fire, just like you see him on ‘Shark Tank.'”
Throughout the process, Cuban motivated Castilla to get the program up and running as fast as possible. Cuban and Castilla first touched base on a Thursday, and the program launched the following Monday.
“It really helped me elevate my game,” Castilla continued. “As a banker, you normally wait, you know, a week to make sure you went through all the compliance hoops and ensure you had the rigorous testing to make sure you were doing the right thing for the customer as well as not breaking any rules.”
But Cuban had higher expectations for Castilla and her team. He knew they could move quickly to help their customers — and they did. They realized they had the ability to put something together in 24 hours.
“She was direct, to the point, understood the goal, and went for it,” Cuban told Business Insider in an email.
Customers are taking advantage of the bank’s new policy
Since launching the overdraft line program at the end of March, Citizens Bank of Edmond’s overdraft volume has tripled. “It’s a high amount of retail businesses in our community,” Castilla said. “We have a lot of contract employees and sole proprietorships, so there’s a lot of people struggling right now.”
“Oklahoma really got the double whammy of the coronavirus and low oil prices,” she continued. “There’s a lot of short-term anxiety because of the virus, and the longer-term anxiety about the recovery of the economy in the wake of oil.”
Castilla’s team is continuing to be liberal about customers’ overdrafts, even after they receive their stimulus checks.
“We are the neighbors to our customers, and so if they are continuing to have struggles, we are continuing to work with individuals to make sure we’re not applying any type of collection pressure during this time of crisis,” Castilla said. “We’re just walking beside them and helping them through it.”
Castilla’s team is also finding ways to help members of the Edmond community who don’t necessarily bank with Citizens Bank. If people receive paper stimulus checks, the bank cashes them out at no cost. “That’s been kind of the theme of our bank as we’ve gone through this crisis,” said Castilla. “Think about making every decision as ‘doing the next right thing.'”
Cuban has reached out to Castilla with information about providing PPP loans for small businesses, so Castilla’s team has been able to provide PPP loans for people in the community, regardless of whether they’re members of Citizens Bank.
Other banks are following in Castilla’s footsteps
Citizens Bank of Edmond serves its community, but it doesn’t have the power to provide funds to Americans on a national level. However, Cuban wanted Castilla’s team to serve as an example for other community banks.
“What [Cuban] was wanting to do was to have a bank to start off with, so that would encourage other banks to be able to provide similar programs,” Castilla said. “He really wanted it to spread from one to another, to another, to another.”
Castilla announced the launch of the overdraft line program via Twitter, and Cuban retweeted her. His retweet resulted in numerous banks reaching out to Castilla to ask about how she created the program. Castilla estimated she’s probably talked to around 400 banks in the past few weeks.
Citizens Bank of Edmond isn’t the only bank helping customers during the coronavirus outbreak. Many banks are offering assistance with monthly payments for mortgages, auto loans, private student loans, personal loans, and credit cards.
So, what does Cuban have to say to banks who want to follow Castilla’s lead in helping their communities quickly?
“Why have you waited?” Cuban told Business Insider. “Call Jill, follow her lead, and get it done.”
- Read more on managing your money in this tumultuous time:
- 3 options for people struggling to pay their mortgage during the global health crisis
- 4 reasons to get disability insurance, even if you don’t think you need it
- If you’ve been financially impacted by the coronavirus, you may be able to pause payments on these 8 bills
- How to get a stimulus check from the US government, which could pay up to $1,200 if you qualify
- In response to the coronavirus, credit card issuers like Amex and Capital One are letting customers skip payments without interest and more
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