Are the Ranks of the Underbanked Swelling?

March 19, 2009

James Flanigan reports that "the number of ‘unbanked’ and ‘underbanked’ people is growing rapidly in the current economic crisis". (Don’t ask me why he felt the need for scare quotes.)

Is this really true? Flanigan adduces no evidence to back up his claim. And I always felt that the ranks of the unbanked and underbanked nearly always went down, absent low-income immigration: the unbanked can become banked, but it’s rare and uncommon for the banked to become unbanked. But of course many formerly rare and uncommon things are happening now; I’d just love to see some numbers on this.

(Related: My July 2007 blog entry on the Wal-Mart MoneyCard is still getting regular new comments. Feelings run high on this thing!)

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