The FDIC recently released the results of its second National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households. Among some of the study’s notable findings:
● 28.3 percent of U.S. households are either unbanked (8.2%) or underbanked (20.1%)
● Unbanked and underbanked households are more prevalent among non-Asian minorities: 55.3% of black households; 48.7% of Hispanic households, and 41.3% of American Indian households are unbanked or underbanked
● 39.9 percent and 47.1 percent of U.S. households making less than $30,000 are unbanked and underbanked, respectively
● 64.9 percent of unbanked households and 58.8 percent of underbanked households have used one or more alternative financial service (AFS) in the last year
As we discussed in a previous post on Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), a growing number of U.S. households are living in asset poverty and are in need of financial products that can help them build financial security. The FDIC’s findings support this fact and indicate that there is still much that needs to be done to connect the significant number of unbanked and underbanked Americans with accessible and affordable mainstream financial products.
How can we make mainstream financial services more accessible to the unbanked and underbanked? While programs like BankOn and financial products like IDAs can address access issues, our clients have told us that financial education efforts are equally as important to help unbanked and underbanked individuals understand the importance of using mainstream financial services to build wealth and financial security. If your organization is interested in expanding its financial education efforts, two upcoming events may be of interest to you: the 5th Annual Financial Literacy Leadership Conference next month in Washington, DC or the Financial Capability Training component of NeighborWorks America’s December Training Institute in Washington, DC.
What programs do you think are most effective at moving more unbanked and underbanked Americans into the financial mainstream? What programs are being implemented in your community?