Robert L. Johnson

*Urban Trust Bank – a minority controlled bank founded by BET creator Robert L. Johnson, Frank J. Hanna and Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., the Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey – will begin offering Visa-branded prepaid cards as part of the dfree financial literacy program.

Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr.

Founded in 2005, dfree stands for “Debt, Delinquency and Deficit Free” and was created by Dr. Soaries as a strategy to address the financial education needs of his congregation.

In 2010, the dfree campaign will expand to churches nationwide under the sponsorship of Corporate Community Connections, Inc. (CCCI), an entity formed by Soaries in 1997 to create partnerships between major corporations and community and faith based organizations.

“This program will allow Urban Trust to fulfill its mission of assisting community leaders to provide urban communities with the tools to help individuals gain financial literacy and savings for the future,” stated Johnson. “Financial literacy is the first step towards saving for home ownership — the cornerstone for generational wealth in this country.”

In addition to churches, the program will expand to community organizations, credit unions, and student organizations. The prepaid card empowers cardholders with many of the benefits of traditional debit or credit cards, without the potential to misuse credit.

These cards may be used anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted for shopping and for ATM withdrawals at thousands of locations nationwide.