The AEI is the FDIC's national initiative to establish broad-based coalitions of financial institutions, community-based organizations and other partners in several markets across the country to bring unbanked and underserved populations into the financial mainstream.

The focus is on expanding basic retail financial services for underserved populations, including savings accounts, affordable remittance products, small-dollar loan programs, targeted financial education programs, and other asset-building programs.

The FDIC-Atlanta Region's AEI rollout event was launched in April 2007, and the FDIC's Community Affairs AEI geographies in Alabama include a total of 21 counties encompassing the Black Belt area of Alabama with the two adjoining Gulf Coast hurricane-impacted counties of Mobile and Baldwin.

The multi-county initiative utilizes regional team leaders, including a financial institution and a community foundation for the southern portion of Alabama, an enterprise community CDC in the west Black Belt and a university in the east Black Belt.

The AEI counties focuson VITA with direct deposit account openings, savings initiatives, financial education, and individual development accounts (IDAs).

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