A Catonsville-based nonprofit announced Tuesday it has teamed with PNC Bank to help 100 low-income families in Baltimore and Baltimore County maintain savings accounts.

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Maryland and Delaware (CCCS), which serves more than 30,000 people a year by telephone, the Internet or in-person, and PNC Bank will establish a one-year pilot program that does away with minimum balances and fees on savings accounts for those in the program.


Encouragement to Economic Self-Sufficiency (EESS) began April 2, according to a release from CCCS, and is designed to encourage people to put aside money for emergency situations or to prepare for home ownership.

EESS participants must attend a banking workshop run by PNC Bank staff before they can open an account at a participating bank branch, according to the release.

CCCS will then disburse participants' savings deposits to PNC Bank electronically and provide financial counseling services.

CCCS received a $10,000 grant from PNC Foundation to support the program's launch in April, the release stated.

Nancy Stark, a spokeswoman for CCCS, said in an email that the money will be used to pay for an employee to recruit participants, process the registration for the workshop, act as a point of contact for PNC Bank and encourage participants to maintain their savings.

CCCS, based on Frederick Road in Catonsville, served 748 clients from Baltimore City and 610 from Baltimore County in 2011, according to an email from Stark.

Ninety-five percent of the clients from the city and 87 percent from the county were low- or moderate-income, Stark wrote.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website, a family of four with an income level of $65,000 in Fiscal Year 2012 is considered low income in Baltimore City and Baltimore County.