WASHINGTON-The proportion of U.S. households with limited access to a bank inched up between 2009 and 2011, with most unbanked and underbanked still turning to alternative products to manage their finances, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said last week.
The FDIC's second biennial report about the unbanked-conducted with the U.S. Census Bureau-said 28.3% of households were unbanked or underbanked in 2011, a jump of nearly three percentage points from two years earlier. Overall, the number of unbanked or underbanked households rose 13% to nearly 34 million.
Similar to the previous survey, a common reason households may lack real banking relationships is the perception that their funds are not sufficient for opening an account.
The report also showed that transactional use by unbanked customers of nonbank financial companies such as check-cashers continues to be prevalent. Overall, more people appear to be using such providers than what was reported in the 2009 survey.
The nation's amount of unbanked households increased only slightly in the two-year period-by 821,000 or 0.6%-to nearly 10 million households, totaling about 17 million adults. That amounted to about one in 12 households being unbanked. Over 29% of U.S. households lack a savings account; 10% lack a checking account.
The rise in the "underbanked"-meaning those who have a bank account but also utilize alternative products-was more pronounced, although the increase was due in part to changes in the definition.