As part of its ongoing commitment to expanding economic inclusion in the U.S., the FDIC works to fill the research and data gap regarding household participation in mainstream banking and the use of non-bank financial services. The FDIC’s surveys help inform the efforts of financial institutions, policymakers, regulators, researchers, academics, and others.
The 2011 household survey results show that more than one in four households (28.3 percent) are either unbanked or underbanked, conducting some or all of their financial transactions outside of the mainstream banking system. Many of these households rely on alternative financial services (AFS) providers, while others use cash or other financial arrangements.
The first household survey was conducted in January 2009, and the results were released to the public in December 2009. According to revised data, an estimated 7.6 percent of U.S. households, approximately 9 million, were unbanked at the time—with at least 17 million adults residing in these unbanked households.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation released the results of its 2011 FDIC Survey of Banks’ Efforts to Serve the Unbanked and Underbanked. The results provide insight into the cost and availability of basic checking and savings accounts, as well as auxiliary products and services offered by banks that are used by underserved consumers. The report also identifies targeted educational, outreach, and marketing activities targeted to unbanked and underbanked consumers as well as retail strategies used by banks to be more welcoming or convenient to customers in general. Finally, banks report on the challenges they perceive to serving unbanked and underbanked consumers.
During 2008, the FDIC conducted a nationwide survey of FDIC-insured depository institutions (“banks”) to assess their efforts to serve unbanked and underbanked individuals and families. The results of the first bank survey revealed that most banks recognize that unbanked and underbanked populations exist in their market areas. While some banks have taken considerable steps to serve these populations, many opportunities were identified for banks to expand efforts to address the needs of underserved populations.
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