September 08, 2016

FDIC: Unbanked rate fell to 7% in 2015

The rate of unbanked households fell to 7 percent in 2015, the lowest level recorded in a yearly survey conducted by the FDIC, said Chairman Martin Gruenberg, who yesterday provided a preview of the survey findings set to be released Oct. 20.

Gruenberg, in remarks for the FDIC 16th Annual Bank Research Conference, said this drop in the unbanked figure represents a significant decline from the 7.7 percent unbanked rate reported in 2013 and the 8.2 percent rate reported in 2011. He also noted that the changes are "occurring broadly, across population segments, including among households that are most likely to be unbanked."

The unbanked rates among Black and Hispanic households fell about 10 percent, Gruenberg said. For Black households, the unbanked rate dropped from 20.6 percent to 18.2 percent; for Hispanic households, it fell from 17.9 percent to 16.2 percent.

About 27 percent of households in U.S. today are unbanked or underbanked, he added. When citing the reasons why Americans remain unbanked, Gruenberg said the "high and unpredictable fees for bank accounts, a lack of trust in banks, or the feeling among households that they do not have enough money to justify an account."

As of June, 75 percent of credit unions offer no-cost share drafts, according to the credit union profile report. NCUA's recent second-quarter data showed credit union membership growth of 3.8 percent versus a year ago to nearly 105 million members. It is the highest growth rate for membership in credit unions in nearly 30 years.