Press Releases

Congressman David Scott Applauds House Passage of Financial Inclusion Bill

Washington, October 28, 2019

Today, the House of Representatives voted unanimously to pass H.R. 4067, the Financial Inclusion in Banking Act.  This bill, introduced by Congressman David Scott (D-GA), addresses systemic barriers in traditional banking and promotes greater inclusion in our nation’s financial system. H.R. 4067 would empower the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Community Affairs to lead coordination within the Bureau, and also work with other federal departments and agencies, trade associations, and civil rights groups in investigating strategies to improve participation in the traditional banking system.  

“Without a bank account, the simple act of accessing their paycheck causes consumers to rely on costly check cashing services or high-fee money orders.  In an increasingly online banking system, and in an increasingly credit-based economy, unbanked consumers are being left behind,” said Congressman Scott. “This important piece of legislation brings together federal agencies, minority depository institutions, consumer advocates, and civil rights groups to ensure that solutions to improve financial inclusion reflect the needs of the most marginalized consumers among us and the most underserved communities across our nation.”

“Un-banked,” as defined by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), means that an individual does not have a checking or savings account.  “Under-banked” means an individual has both a traditional banking account, like a checking account, but has also relied on “alternative financial services” within the past 12 months. “Alternative financial services” include payday loans, pawn shop loans, and auto title loans, among others.

Based on a 2017 survey conducted by the FDIC, 25.2% of American households are either unbanked or underbanked.  However, minority communities tend to face higher rates of financial exclusion.  African American communities continue to be the least “banked” in the country: only 45.8% of African American families are considered “fully-banked,” compared against 77% of white households.

The Financial Inclusion in Banking Act would require the CFPB’s Office of Community Affairs to lead coordination with internal CFPB departments, as well as other agencies in: 

·         Conducting research on barriers to financial inclusion and identifying hurdles under- and un-banked consumers face when maintaining a sustainable relationship with depository institutions;

·         Identifying best practices to increase participation of under- and un-banked consumers in the traditional banking sector;

·         Leading coordination with other federal agencies, as well as minority depository institutions, consumer advocates, civil rights, groups, and the Consumer Advisory Board;

·         Developing strategies to improve financial education for underserved consumers; and

·         Submitting a report to Congress within two years, and biannually thereafter, highlighting legislative and regulatory recommendations to promote participation in the traditional banking system.

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