Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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March 24, 2009
more on the un/derbanked

Update to this post.

Daniel Brook's newly published article, "Usury Country," is an extensive examination of the payday lending industry. Brook clarifies that the entirely unbanked are exempt from that industry's depredations:
The 28 million Americans who have no bank account (a number that includes 20 percent of African Americans and Latinos) don't have the checkbook with which to write the necessary bad check. Millions more are ineligible for payday loans because they're unemployed or are paid off the books.

One fine discussion of Brook's piece appears on the Well Wrought Urn blog, here.

No such "luck," however, for the merely "underbanked." The Dallas Morning News, in a column last summer, defined the latter as
those who have an account but also bypass the bank in costly ways, such as paying bills with money orders, using check-cashing services or taking out payday loans.

The Dallas column is very helpful in that it extracts and summarizes the wisdom of a study of underbanked consumers, otherwise available only for a price, from the Center for Financial Services Innovation (an affiliate of the Chicago-based ShoreBank      Corporation).

[Or rather, the Dallas columnist distilled the study's six-page factsheet summary, downloadable from this page, which includes bullet-point lists, bar graphs & pie charts of the underbanked consumers' alleged demographics, characteristics, spending habits & preferred non-bank financial transaction service providers.]

The study's wisdom, as set forth by the columnist, includes the finding that the un/derbanked can be broken down analytically into eight categories.
                            (In this they as a phenonenon are oddly similar to




                            categories of musical sound
                            in traditional Chinese music,

                            taxonomic rank,