Banking options still a struggle for a quarter of Californians


farmers and merchants bankWASHINGTON — More than a quarter (25.3 percent) of Californians either have no bank account or are underserved by the banking industry according to a recently released survey by the FDIC.

The survey published on found 6.2 percent of California residents are “unbanked,” meaning they have no bank account at all. Another 19.1 percent were “underbanked,” meaning they had a bank account but also obtained financial services or products outside the banking system.

The rates of those without banking services in California is at its lowest point since 2009. The rate of “unbanked” households has dropped 1.8 percent since 2013.

Nationally, approximately 7 percent of households were considered unbanked in 2015 and 19.9 percent were considered underbanked.

The rate of those without a bank account has fallen nationally by 0.7 percent since 2013.

Many of those lacking access to banking services (20.9 percent) had income that varied somewhat or a lot from month to month. Banks often charge higher fees and rates to those with volatile incomes.

Lack of branches close to their household provides another obstacle to accessing there banking industry for those in lower income household and many lack access to secure internet connections.

A majority of those without banking services felt that “banks were not at all interested in serving households like theirs.” Only 12 percent of those considered “fully banked” felt the same way.

Among those with access to banking services, online banking is the primary way they interact with their financial institution. Nearly 40 percent of Californians reported that this was their most prevalent option.


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