City’s Poor Still Distrust Banks

Christine Haughney, New York Times, August 18, 2009

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In the years since [1986], the number of bank branches has skyrocketed, with the big names compelled to open in underserved areas. Community credit unions have sprung up from Washington Heights to Bedford-Stuyvesant. Outreach workers have taken to the streets to draw the “unbanked”–many of them the city’s poorest, living check to check–into the system and away from the high-fee world of check-cashing and money orders.

{snip} In Manhattan, long the world’s banking capital, 12 percent of households still do not have a bank account, compared with the national average, 8 percent, according to recently released data by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

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“There isn’t that trust that Americans are accustomed to having,” said Peter Mosbacher, the bank’s [Workers at Amalgamated Bank] senior vice president of community development. “We are having that challenge to get people to understand that the American banking system is stable.”

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