Unbanked in Baltimore

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If you had no bank account, how would you deposit your paycheck? If you had no credit history, how would you rent an apartment or buy a car? The agency that insures banks, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) says about 40 percent of Baltimore households are unbanked or underbanked. That means they use check-cashing outlets, money orders, and payday or auto title loans, instead of formal banking services. These alternative services can come with high fees and a reputation for predatory practices. This hour, University of Baltimore law professor Cassandra Jones Havard tells us why so many people are excluded from formal financial institutions, and why brick-and-mortar banks are vital to communities.


This interview was originally broadcast on WYPR's "Midday." WYPR is Baltimore's local NPR station.