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Economic Commentary

Bringing the Unbanked Onboard

Millions of Americans do not have a banking relationship with a traditional financial institution.1 The “unbanked” —estimated to be 13 percent of American households—use a variety of means to cash checks, make payments, and take out small, short-term loans. Numerous programs and policies have been proposed and implemented to address this issue, but the success rate has not been high.

The views authors express in Economic Commentary are theirs and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland or the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The series editor is Tasia Hane. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. This paper and its data are subject to revision; please visit for updates.

Suggested Citation

Good, Barbara. 1999. “Bringing the Unbanked Onboard.” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Commentary 1/15/1999.