More Southerners Are Off the Banking Grid
A new interactive map released by Wednesday by the Pew Charitable Trusts shows state-by-state comparisons for median bank fees and policies, as well as percentage of households that don't have a bank account, across the United States.
The national median monthly fee for a checking account is $8.95 -- or more than $107 per year. The national median minimum combined balance to avoid a monthly fee is $2,500.
But with fees rising for accounts at the biggest banks -- and with the median income falling -- more Americans could find themselves on the margins of the banking system, and unable to afford an account. Amenities that are part of having a bank account, including checking, savings, and access to credit, could slip out of reach for more millions. Today, many people without bank account rely on borrowing money from friends and family, or from payday loan operators, short-term lenders that charge interest rates of up to 400% annually.
States with the fewest number of account-less households are clustered in northern New England, as well as Washington, Montana, Utah and Minnesota. Utah has the smallest percentage of unbanked households: Just 1.7% of households are unaffiliated with a financial institution.
People without a bank account also have trouble moving up the social ladder, as their lack of one puts things like mortgage loans out of reach.
"We know that those who are banked are much better able to save for long-term goals," says Susan Weinstock, director of the Safe Checking in the Electronic Age project for the Pew Trusts.