How to Build a More Equal Bank
By Karen Shaw Petrou
Ten years on from the financial crisis, too many Americans are still unbanked, underbanked or even badly banked. This doesn’t just mean that sound financial services are hard to find for certain communities, including low- and moderate-income households, minorities, the disabled and others. It also means that financial services do not advance income and wealth equality by providing living returns on savings accounts or sustainable credit for low-balance, higher-risk mortgages, small-business startups and other critical equality-enhancing needs. The bottom line is that unequal financial services are creating an even more unequal America, with still deeper social and political discord. Either private banks must solve this problem or a government body — be it the Post Office, the Federal Reserve, state-government banks or others — will enter or even take over consumer banking. This is particularly true given that the U.S. is already the most unequal of all of the advanced market economies.