(Clarifies attribution for size of LGBT+ population in 5th paragraph)
By Matthew Lavietes
NEW YORK, Nov 19 (Openly) - The first LGBT+-owned and targeted digital banking platform launched in the United States this week, part of a growing effort to meet the needs of gay and transgender customers.
Daylight, the new platform, said it has developed tools and content to help LGBT+ Americans reach specific financial goals such as saving money for surrogacy or gender transition surgery, and to make banking more inclusive.
The nation's LGBT+ population wields some $1 trillion in collective spending power but are mostly underserved by banks that fail to tap into their assets or address their interests, Daylight Chief Executive Rob Curtis said.
"While it's wonderful that financial service companies join us in Pride marches, too few have absorbed our community's critical challenges," he said in a statement.
An estimated 9 million people comprise the nation's LGBT+ community, according to the Williams Institute, a research center at the University of California.
Entrepreneurs in Brazil established the country's first bank for LGBT+ people, Pride Bank, last year, and the first credit union designed for the LGBT+ community, Superbia Credit Union, is expected to launch in the United States later this year.
"We are working to create a more inclusive and accessible financial ecosystem ... for those who have long been underrepresented," said Terry Angelos, a senior vice president at credit card company Visa, which is backing the effort, in a statement.
Daylight will offer prepaid credit cards in customers' preferred names, addressing a thorny issue for transgender people who use names different from those given at birth.
It also will provide financial coaches trained to handle LGBT+-specific needs.
Daylight plans to begin offering services officially in mid-December. (Reporting by Matthew Lavietes, Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)
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