More than one in four U.S. households are either unbanked or underbanked, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s (FDIC) newly released 2011 National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households.
The FDIC survey found 821,000 more U.S. households have become unbanked since a similar survey was conducted in 2009, representing a 0.6 percentage point increase. The survey determined that more than half of all unbanked households – 28.3% of the total household population – said they do not have a bank account because they believe they do not have enough money or that they do not need or want an account. In addition, the report showed that three in 10 households nationally do not hold a savings account.
But this not to say that the unbanked Americans are simply hiding their money in their mattresses: One-quarter of households have used at least one alternative financial service (AFS), such as non-bank check cashing or payday loans in the past year, and almost one in 10 households have used two or more types of AFS products or services. In all, 12% of households used an AFS in the past 30 days, including four in 10 unbanked and underbanked households.
‘The results of the 2011 National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households indicate that insured financial institutions have an important chance to grow their customer base by expanding opportunities that bring unbanked and underbanked individuals into mainstream banking,’ says FDIC Acting Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg.