Banking Services: Regulators Have Taken Actions to Increase Access, but Measurement of Actions' Effectiveness Could Be Improved, Report to Congressional Requesters   [open pdf - 3MB]

From the Highlights: "Access to reliable and affordable banking services is essential for household financial well-being. In 2019, FDIC [Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation] estimated that 5.4 percent of surveyed U.S. households were unbanked. GAO [U.S. Government Accountability Office] used the survey data to estimate another 17.9 percent had a bank account but used alternative financial services, such as check cashing or payday loans that can have high fees or interest rates. GAO was asked to review factors affecting household access to basic banking services. Among other objectives, this report examines factors associated with households' use of basic banking services, statutory and regulatory factors affecting service availability and cost, and the efforts of selected federal financial regulators to address these issues. GAO analyzed survey data from FDIC on unbanked and underbanked households, reviewed studies on laws and regulatory factors, examined agency documentation, and interviewed market participants and observers and agency officials. [...] GAO recommends that FDIC, NCUA [National Credit Union Administration], and OCC [Office of the Comptroller of the Currency] establish outcome-based performance measures reflecting the full scope of their efforts to achieve strategic objectives related to access to banking services. The agencies generally agreed with these recommendations."

Report Number:
Public Domain
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Government Accountability Office: https://www.gao.gov/
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