Can America’s Unbanked Survive?

| January 4, 2012 | 0 Comments

Banks are seriously contemplating a fee for their customers who deposit and withdraw large amounts of money.  Mellon Bank in New York is just the first to admit boardroom whispers of charging people for doing business with them.  Amid a growing dilemma of having too much money with too few ideas of what to do with it, fat cat bankers just might get richer by attacking your account with sharpened fees instead of the old fashion way of earning it.  So, what about those who don’t have stacks of money to fight with banks over?  What about the unbanked?


Who are The Unbanked?

According to a survey completed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission (FDIC) in 2009, 7.7 percent of American household are considered unbanked which suggests that 9 million families do not have a checking or savings account.  Without a bank relationship, those families are less likely to receive loans through traditional banking channels.


Is The Under-banked living next door?

The same FDIC survey also learned that approximately 18 percent of US households or 21 million families are under banked, meaning they have at least a checking or savings account but also purchases check cashing services and money orders from (non-bank) alternative financial entities.  Under banked consumers also utilize rent-to-own products, payday loans and even frequent pawnshops when they experience harsh periods of financial distress.


That’s crazy, right?

In general, most of us American’s acquire credit to buy bigger houses, more expensive cars and too many designer labels than we can afford.  We count on banks to deposit our money without giving us anything of value in return.  They don’t loan anything anymore, hit us with a $35 gut punch when the account is overdrawn and rarely incentivize us with decent returns on our savings deposits.  Yes, we still do business with them.  It’s not a very mutually rewarding relationship but more closely resembles a lopsided love affair, what the youngsters might call complicated.


Are you a banking survivor?

There’s a subculture in this country, consumers who are not like most of us.  Some may call them subprime borrowers or even the nation’s poor.  On the other hand, those other people – who are so unlike us, refuse to pay banks monthly fees for storing there deposits like we do.  This subgroup has a better understanding of needful things than the majority of Americans.  They live in a reality where the words, “I need” typically mean a great deal more than when uttered by the over-spending and under-saving masses.  People in this country who often struggle without the use of needful things have been called many things.  Currently they’ve been settled with the titles of unbanked and underbanked.  They’ve broken ties with banks either on their own accord or figuratively been pushed aside when their deposits fail to eclipse a certain profitability margin or provide enough cross sell opportunities to be considered worth the trouble.  Those unbanked among us, are somewhat more together than we give them credit for.  That’s why I call those fellow Americans conscientious, smart and survivors.  And, soon there will be more of them as banks continue to disregard their customer’s angst as apathy.


Will The Unbanked Occupy Wall Street?

To answer the question, can America’s unbanked survive?  Our country’s so-called unbanked have not only survived for decades without the fear of being over-charged by banks, they’re probably sleeping better than the multitude who are up to their necks in peer-pressure provoked credit card debt.  Perhaps the question should be, will millions of overbanked American continue to stomach big bank’s abuse of power?  Considering how volatile the Occupy Wall Street uprising has become, probably not.    But they always have, the unbanked will certainly seek out ways to survive!



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Category: ACE Community, Budgeting, Debt Management, Money Management, Prepaid Debit Card Information, Smart Spending

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