08/17/2009 - In 1986, when the Lower East Side had just one bank in a 100-square-block area, the high numbers of residents without bank accounts alarmed the city but did not surprise anyone.
In the years since, the number of bank branches has skyrocketed, with the big names compelled to open in underserved areas. Community credit unions have sprung up from Washington Heights to Bedford-Stuyvesant. Outreach workers have taken to the streets to draw the “unbanked” — many of them the city’s poorest, living check to check — into the system and away from the high-fee world of check-cashing and money orders.
But none of it has worked. In Manhattan, long the world’s banking capital, 12 percent of households still do not have a bank account, compared with the national average, 8 percent, according to recently released data by The Pew Charitable Trusts.
Read the full article City’s Poor Still Distrust Banks on the New York Times' Web site.
Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information visit the Safe Banking Opportunities Project on PewHealth.org.