Programs Aim to Aid 'Unbanked'

Publication: USA Today

Author: Martha T. Moore

11/05/2009 - Dozens of cities are launching programs to sign up low-income people as customers at commercial banks so they can avoid the high fees typical of check-cashing stores and payday lenders.

More than 50 cities and three states have programs modeled on Bank On San Francisco.

The programs — including Indiana's, launched last week, and Newark's, which began Monday — are aimed at the estimated 8.7 million U.S. households that do not have bank accounts. The encourage residents to open low- or no-cost checking accounts.

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People who don't use banks spend an estimated $1,042 a year on check-cashing services, which charge a percentage of the value of the check, according to a study by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Read the full article Programs Aim to Aid 'Unbanked' on USA Today's Web site.

Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information visit the Safe Banking Opportunities Project on

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