Title

U.S. Must Prioritize Financial Inclusion

Document Type

Letter to the Editor

Journal Title

The Baltimore Sun

Publication Date

12-6-2016

Abstract

An issue that received short shrift during the 2016 election was the urgent need to give all Americans access to the banking system — the system that we all pitched in to rescue after the economic bust of 2008.

Twenty-seven percent of U.S. households, or about one in four, do not have access to the full range of banking services. Meanwhile, 7 percent of Americans are considered "unbanked," meaning they don't have access to an insured bank account or to any banking services. And roughly 20 percent of American households are considered "underbanked": They have a bank account, but they do not use the banking system to meet transaction or credit needs.

In late October, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. released its biennial survey of unbanked and underbanked households. The survey, which looked at 2015, measures the inclusiveness of the banking system by determining the number of people with insured bank accounts over the previous 12 months.