Portia MacDonald was homeless two years ago. Now she has an apartment and sells her handmade jewelry and fragrances at her own store in Georgetown.
The difference between then and now: a bank account.
Life was tough without one. MacDonald cashed her checks at check-cashing stores, she said. They took 20 percent off the top and charged another $10 to load a prepaid debit card with whatever was left. She used the card to pay bills and make purchases.
At street fairs where she sold her goods, MacDonald had to tell potential buyers that she only took cash. That raised eyebrows and turned some people away, she said.
All that changed when MacDonald found Express Credit Union and a special account that Express and 15 other financial institutions offer through a city initiative called Bank On Seattle-King County.