Happy young African American couple on moving day.

Financial Inclusion

Products and Services

Making financial products and services accessible and affordable is an important part of what we do. Our products are designed to meet the needs of clients in every stage of life and income level, whether opening a checking account for the first time or opening a small business.

Our My Free Banking no-cost checking account has no minimum balance requirement or monthly fee. Clients have free, secure access to their accounts online and via our mobile banking app with mobile deposit. A free debit card is included.

Designed for students living away from home, our Student Banking free checking account has no minimum balance or monthly service fee and includes free, secure access through online and mobile banking. A free debit card is included. This account also permits one overdraft fee refunded per calendar year and two free ATM transactions at non-Sandy Spring Bank ATMs per statement cycle.

For those in our community who are at least 55 years of age we offer Senior Interest Checking. There’s no minimum balance or direct deposit requirement, and no monthly fee. The account is interest bearing and comes with free check orders, online and mobile banking and a free debit card.

Nearly 27,000 small and medium-sized businesses use our Flex Business Checking. With several activity tiers, businesses can avoid monthly fees by maintaining a modest minimum average balance. All accounts come with online banking and business clients can offer their employees free checking accounts through our Workplace Banking program.

Community Development Lending and Investments

We financially support our low- to moderate-income communities by partnering with organizations that develop affordable housing, provide community services and revitalize and stabilize inner-city areas. These loans and investments help meet critical needs for people and neighborhoods across our footprint.

In 2021, our community development loans and investments:

  • Helped provide 252 affordable housing units
  • Supported organizations that serve the elderly, the homeless, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and disabled veterans, among others
$52.7m Community development loans originated 58,925 Low- or no-cost consumer checking accounts 24% Offices in low- to moderate-income areas


We strive to be an advocate for our clients and their life goals, and there is nothing more satisfying than the purchase or construction of a new home. With the interest rate environment remaining favorable in 2021, we were also instrumental in helping clients refinance their current mortgages to reduce their monthly payment, shorten their repayment schedule, or access their equity.

We are committed to promoting affordable housing in the communities we serve. Through our in-house portfolio products and partnerships with local community development agencies we have developed a suite of programs aimed at assisting those in need achieve their dream of homeownership.

Our Welcome Home Loan Program provides affordable financing for home purchases for lower- and moderate-income purchasers. The benefits include a low down payment with flexible funds eligibility and no mortgage insurance. This program is available to individuals whose income is below a certain level or for homes that are located within low- or moderate-income census tracts. The Welcome Home Loan Program also allows eligible borrowers to refinance up to 100 percent of the home’s value with no mortgage insurance.

We also offer Freddie Mac’s Home Possible Advantage, which provides 97 percent financing for low- and moderate-income borrowers on either home purchase or refinances. This program has flexible underwriting features, including more eligible sources of funds for down payment and closing costs.

2021 Highlights

Single-family mortgage loans to low- to moderate-income clients $310 million
Affordable housing loans originated $241 million
Loans originated for first-time home buyers $307 million

In conjunction with these programs, we offer a down payment assistance program called Closing the Gap Plus that provides up to 3 percent of the purchase price for borrowers that meet income and/or property eligibility requirements.

Through the Federal Home Loan Bank, we offer a multitude of down payment assistance programs for low- and moderate-income buyers, including a First Time Homebuyer Program and Community Partner Programs for educators, health care workers, law enforcement, fire fighters and other first responders, as well as one geared for veterans, their spouses or surviving spouses purchasing a home.

We also offer various state government programs, including the Maryland Mortgage Program, Virginia Housing Development Authority, DC Open Doors and other local programs.

Sandy Spring Bank is approved to originate loans guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and offers VA financing to all eligible veterans. We are also an approved Federal Housing Administration (FHA) lender, which allows us to offer low down payment financing to all borrowers.

Paycheck Protection Program

The Paycheck Protection Program, better known as PPP, is a stimulus program created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help small- and medium-sized businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic maintain payroll, hire back employees who have been laid off and cover applicable overhead.

The program allowed Sandy Spring Bank and other lenders to provide cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers that would be forgiven if the funds were used for payroll and other covered expenses. The program was renewed in 2021 to allow eligible business to obtain additional support.