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Friday, September 29, 2006

Unbanked: Traditional Banks Take Notice

"A first-of-its-kind initiative has launched in San Francisco, encouraging residents who normally rely on expensive check cashers to open a bank account.

San Francisco Mayer Gavin Newsom and Treasurer Jose Cisneros unveiled Thursday “Bank on San Francisco,” with the hope that in the next two years 10,000 of the city’s 50,000 unbanked – roughly 15% of all households – will have a checking or savings account.

About a dozen participating banks and credit unions, including Ba
nk of America, Bank of the West, Citibank, and Washington Mutual, have agreed to offer low-income families new products and services to bring them into the banking system.

Bank on San Francisco is run in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and local nonprofit Earned Assets Resource Network (EARN).

via banknet360

AV: Aki has posted several articles on Unbanked consumers and the trends around them. Perhaps this is an initial step for the traditional banking industry in seeing the possibilites in the unbanked market. According to estimates from the National Community Investment Fund, the check-cashing industry processes 180 million checks per year, with a face value of nearly $55 billion. Now there's a number that'll make a banker take notice.

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