Prof. Havard in The Sun: U.S. must insist on financial inclusion

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Professor Cassandra Jones Havard

In a Baltimore Sun op-ed published today, Professor Cassandra Jones Havard urges the United States to pay attention to the 27 percent of U.S. households that are “un-” or “underbanked” — that don’t have access to the full range of banking services.

“Fringe bank” customers are not making use of traditional banks, Havard writes. Instead they use high-fee money orders, check-cashing services, international remittances, payday loans, refund-anticipation loans, rent-to-own services, pawn-shop loans or auto-title loans.

A biennial survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which looked at 2015, found that, as in previous years, access to formal financial services was skewed toward whites and the well-educated, while the use of informal financial services was skewed toward minorities and the less-educated.

Moreover, Havard writes, fringe banking’s negative micro- and macroeconomic repercussions affect economic growth and stability for all Americans: “An inclusive economy creates equal economic opportunity and, subsequently, economic growth.”

Continued Havard: “The economy surges when consumers have access to jobs and steady income, as well as access to the financial products and services they need. Participating in the economy has a positive impact on the economic lives of those with lower incomes because it allows them, over time, to improve their economic capability.”

Read “U.S. must prioritize financial inclusion” (Dec. 6, 2016).

Learn more about Professor Havard.

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