The number of unbanked households in Oregon dropped from 3.8 percent in 2019 to just 1.8 percent in 2021, according to a study by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. This is significant for many Oregonians because it means they can avoid paying for expensive alternative financial services such as money orders, check cashing, and pre-paid cards.
Those costs can add up to thousands of dollars over a consumer’s lifetime.
Nationally, over 95 percent of U.S. households had some sort of banking account in 2021. If a household is banked it means at least one member has a savings or checking account at a bank or credit union.
“One of the challenges facing the unbanked is all of the fees you have to pay to access your money,” said TK Keen, administrator of the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation at the Department of Business and Consumer Services. “While the individual cost may seem minor, having to buy several different financial products to pay rent, utilities, and other monthly expenses starts to add up and eats into your monthly budget. I am pleased to see that our financial institutions continue to help us make headway in getting consumers accounts, and in turn, reducing fees that consumers pay in their daily lives.”
Despite this improvement, Black, Indigenous, and Latino communities, as well as people experiencing a disability, are much more likely to be unbanked. Only 2.1 percent of White households are unbanked in the U.S. In contrast, 9.3 percent of Latino households and 11.3 percent of Black households are unbanked. The Bank On movement is working to address this disparity.
“It is important to get as many people as possible banked,” Keen said. “Relationships with our financial institutions come in handy for other financial services people need, such as a loan to buy a car, a mortgage to buy a home, and emergency loans for unexpected expenses that come up.”
The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation is a member of the Bank On Oregon Coalition, a group of financial institutions, community organizations, and government agencies committed to carrying out the Bank On nationwide mission to reduce barriers to banking access by coordinating with financial institutions to make safe, low-cost bank accounts more readily available to consumers. Currently, 15 different institutions, including many state-chartered institutions, offer Bank On certified accounts in Oregon.
Source: Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services