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FDIC Releases National Survey of Unbanked and Under-banked

September 14, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) released results from its 2011 National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households. The survey showed that more than one in four U.S. households (28.3 percent) are either unbanked or under-banked, a slight increase from the findings from the FDIC's 2009 inaugural survey.

The survey, conducted every two years by the FDIC in partnership with the U.S. Bureau of the Census, provides the banking industry and policy makers with insights and guidance on the demographics and needs of the unbanked and under-banked.

According to the 2011 Survey, 821,000 more U.S. households have become unbanked since the first survey three years ago, representing a 0.6 percentage point increase. More than half of all unbanked households said they do not have an account because they believe they do not have enough money or that they do not need or want an account. In addition, the report shows that three in 10 households nationally do not hold a savings account.

"The results of the 2011 National Survey of Unbanked and Under-banked Households indicate that insured financial institutions have an important chance to grow their customer base by expanding opportunities that bring unbanked and under-banked individuals into mainstream banking," said Martin J. Gruenberg, FDIC acting chairman.

Other key findings include:

  • ·       8.2 percent of U.S. households are unbanked. This represents one in 12 households in the nation, or nearly 10 million in total. Approximately 17 million adults live in unbanked households.
  • ·       20.1 percent of U.S. households are under-banked. This represents one in five households, or 24 million households with 51 million adults.
  • ·       29.3 percent of households do not have a savings account, while about 10 percent do not have a checking account. About two-thirds of households have both checking and savings accounts.

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 percent of households used an AFS in the past 30 days, including four in 10 unbanked and under-banked households.

"There are many positives to establishing a relationship with an insured financial institution,” Gruenberg said. “Access to an account at a federally insured institution provides households with the opportunity to conduct basic financial transactions, build wealth, save for emergency and long-term security needs, and access credit on fair and affordable terms.”

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