According to Federal Reserve data, roughly 63 million Americans are unbanked or underbanked and 7.1 million U.S. households are without a bank account completely. Being unbanked makes managing everyday finances more difficult and less secure, as consumers turn to alternatives like check cashing services and payday loans. “[F]or underbanked communities there is a steep cost associated with having no primary financial relationship,” as we outlined in serving the underbanked, with these consumers shouldering a staggering $3,000 in fees annually.
The FDIC (of all entities!) thinks there is a better way. The agency just announced a new program to spread the word about banking’s benefits to consumers, especially in places like Atlanta and Houston, where “research finds Black and Hispanic households are disproportionately unbanked.” The new Get Banked public awareness campaign was crafted to inspire consumers to take advantage of all the benefits of opening a bank account – like lower fees, faster access to funds and protection of deposits – all ultimately laddering up to financial empowerment that opens doors to a more secure, successful future.
According to FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams: “Becoming a part of the banking and financial system in the U.S. is a pathway into being a shareholder in the U.S. and having a vested interest in the well-being in your community.” McWilliams understands that getting banked is a critical step for expanding the financial prospects for consumers across the country. She says, “I know from my personal experience that starting a banking relationship can offer a greater sense of belonging and expand economic opportunities.”
With a compelling public-private approach, the campaign has wide and deep support from stakeholders across the financial spectrum, including nonprofit organizations, government agencies, trade associations, financial services publications, community influencers, civil rights leaders, financial services innovators, and banks and credit unions serving communities of all sizes across the country. With a ‘real talk’ attitude and a winning rallying cry for consumers, #GetBanked is already trending across social platforms – and it’s just getting started.
How is your financial institution helping your community members #GetBanked? We want to hear from you. Share your story by tagging Believe in Banking on our social channels or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.