People want and need access to a financial system that works for them now more than ever—a pathway to financial security and wealth-building opportunities for their family and future.

Unfortunately, too many people—one in four people nationally according to the FDIC—are living outside the financial mainstream because they simply can’t afford bank accounts or don’t trust banks. When you break it down by race, it’s one in five white households compared to an alarming almost one out of every two Black households.

Banking is a system designed around privilege, seldom focused on building financial health and wealth for low-income or Black, Indigenous, or communities of color. Instead, their wealth is often stripped through product features like overdraft and minimum balance requirements that really only work for people with financial stability—steady and sufficient income and a good financial track record. Banks’ systems of rules and practices that surround their products are exclusionary and opaque, and many of them are grounded in historical (redlining) and current (unequal access to credit) discriminatory practices.

All of these barriers form a perception—and a reality—that bank accounts are not accessible to or built for low-income people and/or Black, Indigenous, and people of color. And it doesn’t have to be this way.

Prepare + Prosper is reimagining the banking experience with FAIR, in partnership with a bank whose mission overlaps with ours, Sunrise Banks. We’re not just designing financial products, we designed an entirely new model—built from the ground up on a foundation of trust, transparency, inclusion, access, and partnership. It’s a blueprint that emerged from a group of leaders from multiple sectors—including banks and nonprofits who have spent years working with banks—who wanted a solution. It was, and continues to be, informed by listening to the communities and individuals who have been left out of the banking ecosystem to create the kinds of products for which they asked.

With Sunrise Banks, we’re building products that work for people, regardless of their income, cash flow, or past experience with banks. We’re talking about the products and features in ways that are jargon-free and easy to follow. We offer coaching to help people understand and use their accounts to reach their financial goals. And we’re bringing these accounts to communities in new ways, working with partners who are trusted by community members and share our vision.

We are part of a movement to change an industry that needs to change. It needs new systems, a more racially equitable paradigm, and more inclusive ways of doing business. Simply put: we’re demanding an financial system centered on economic and racial justice. And we’re calling for a system that centers this essential truth: everyone deserves access to safe, affordable financial services, and opportunities to build wealth—no matter our race, income, or geography. To get there, we need everyone to join us: banks, non-profits, innovators, community leaders, legislators, and customers.

We’ve already seen innovators that have started us on this path—like SaverLife, Mission Asset Fund, and MoCaFi—who have paved the way for FAIR to help take the movement forward. The next steps are ones we must take together—banks, community organizations, and government—all collaborating to build a new system that works for the people, and yes, turn a profit in a FAIR way. According to the Financial Health Network, financially underserved consumers currently spend $189 billion on fees and interest—imagine if that was redirected toward individual and community wealth?

While FAIR pushes for radical change, it also strives to be a true partner for people and their money, offering tools and support to help individuals and families spend less money on accessing their own money and get on the pathway to financial success. We envision a future in which underserved communities have access to wealth-building financial services, reduced reliance on wealth-stripping financial products, and more confidence and control in the day-to-day management of their financial lives. With the values of trust, transparency, and partnership as our North Star, this future is well within our grasp.