Unbanked and underbanked consumers represent the last remaining “white space” in financial services—an uncharted territory where credit unions have a rare opportunity to serve an underserved market.
Approximately 68 million U.S. adults are either unbanked or underbanked. Revenue from serving these unbanked and underbanked consumers totaled $78 billion in 2011 and $85 billion in 2012.
During the past 20 years, an entire industry has emerged to fill the void left by traditional financial institutions. These alternative financial service providers or “fringe bankers” include check-cashing outlets, payday loan stores, and Internet payday lenders.
By charging exorbitant interest rates that can create a cycle of indebtedness, these profiteers act against the best interests of their customers under the veil of providing a helping hand at a time of need.
Credit unions can meet the underserved’s needs by offering appropriate services and building relationships.
A low-income designation, combined with a clear strategic plan, can enhance your ability to enter and serve low- to moderate-income markets. Tools that can help your credit union engage these consumers include check cashing, remittances, and bill pay. The path to asset building starts with a single transaction.
President Barack Obama sent greetings Thursday to those celebrating International Credit Union Day. CUNA worked closely with the White House on the statement, and a number of credit union-friendly legislators also weighed in with the White House.
The NCUA’s revised supervisory approach to interest rate risk is covered in a recent Letter to Credit Unions (16-CU-08). The new standardized approach is designed to increase focus and resources toward higher risk credit unions.
CUNA’s Strategic Communications Department teamed up with The Wall Street Journal this week on an infographic illustrating the differences between credit unions and banks. The graphic ran in print today, on International Credit Union Day.