Living in the United States, I was fortunate enough to be given access to bank accounts. At the time, I took that privilege for granted, and didn’t really appreciate the fortunate circumstances I lived in. I was given minimal interest for leaving my cash with the bank, and I was rewarded more interest by putting in more money. Also, the bank charged my parents absolutely nothing for opening an account. Luckily for me, I had surpassed the minimum balance requirement of $100, and I soon began receiving summaries of my account every month.
Growing up, the value of living in a fortunate community really began to show when visiting more of the world. Stepping out of the steel dome that I live in, other financial institutions around me differed in the options they gave me. Some banks in the United States, as well as the world, require opening fees and much higher minimum deposits for bank accounts. All of this seemed appalling to me, because some children were unable to meet the standards of opening a bank account. Children that are unable to store their money safely need the security of a bank account, but often can’t because of the low amount of savings they have. Some children don’t have parents or guardians to help cosign the bank accounts, and they struggle to survive on their own. The assurance of a bank account should be granted to all youth, but is only currently being granted for the fortunate children with savings.
And that’s where my campaign comes in. A month ago, I started a petition to remove opening fees, lower minimum balance requirements, and raise interest rates for youth savings accounts. The petition is the blueprint for other youth activists to apply and fight for the same privileges that need to be granted in the United States. I’ve written emails to President Obama and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, as well as major bank officials in major United States financial institutions. My goal is to reach 10,000 signatures in one year, but this goal can easily be achievable with your help. Currently, the petition has only 180 signatures. The petition is online, using change.org’s platform to reform policies across all issues in the world. For more information, the link to the petition is here.