[Forbes] As The Nation Nears Full Banking Inclusion, It's Time To Focus On Financial Health
Jennifer Tescher (contributor)
Good news from the FDIC: Fewer than 5% of American households lack a bank account, down from 8% a decade ago and the lowest level since the agency began tracking it.
The story of how roughly 5 million households entered the banking system since 2011 is instructive as we consider both how to keep them in and how to reach the remaining 6 million still outside of it, 70% of whom are households of color. FDIC data shows that 11% of Black households and 9% of Hispanic households are unbanked, relative to 2% of white households.
It’s also time to start thinking about what happens to people after they open an account. A bank account is a necessary ingredient in achieving financial health, as demonstrated by the fact that, according to the Financial Health Pulse® 2022 U.S. Trends Report, only 3% of unbanked individuals are financially healthy. That said, a bank account alone is insufficient to ensure a positive trajectory: Only 36% of bank account owners are financially healthy.