“When exploring ways to provide access to safe and affordable financial services, FDIC needs to acknowledge and embrace all the resources available to address the challenge,” explained Joseph M. Doyle, Chairman of FiSCA. “Banks certainly play a crucial role; however, they are not the sole resource available.”
According to the FDIC, 1 in 12 households in the nation, or nearly 10 million in total, are unbanked. One in five households, or 24 million households, are underbanked. One-quarter of U.S. households have used at least one alternative financial service product in the last year, and almost one in ten households have used two or more in that same timeframe.1 However, most banks offer such services—check-
“For millions of low- to moderate-income Americans financial service centers are the provider of choice,” said Doyle. “Our industry offers the array of services needed coupled with the instant liquidity and access they demand and complete transparency. There are no hidden fees. Perhaps most importantly, our customers understand our value proposition and with that understanding comes trust. Therefore, financial service centers can play a crucial role in meeting ComE-IN’s mandate.”
As a practical matter, banks have a minimal presence in many urban and rural communities across the country. Even in communities where banks are prevalent, FSCs still have a sizable presence. In addition, the FSC industry also enjoys a tremendous level of customer satisfaction, with 95% of respondents in a national customer satisfaction poll rating the value of services provided from “good” to “excellent”
“Because of the natural symmetries that could exist between banks, credit unions and FSCs, FiSCA aggressively reached out to the ComE-IN when it was first established, urging it to include the industry as a committee member,” continued Doyle. “Further, we urged a greater partnership between the two segments of the financial services industry. Unfortunately, to date, that partnership has failed to materialize, but there is still time to establish it.”
FiSCA’s October 2007 presentation to the committee can be accessed on its website, www.FiSCA.org.
1 2011 FDIC National Survey of Banks' Efforts to Serve the Unbanked and Underbanked
2 2011 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households
FiSCA, founded in 1987, is the national trade association for more than 6,500 individual financial service centers across the United States. FiSCA members provide a wide variety of financial services and products to their communities, including check cashing, money orders, money transfers, and electronic bill payment services, automatic teller machine access, government benefit and payroll payments, small dollar short-term loans, electronic tax preparation, prepaid debit cards, deposit acceptance services, public transportation fare and token sales, motor vehicle license plate and title distribution, postage stamp sales and numerous other services. For more information, please visit www.fisca.org.