Household Access to Banks Improved But Could Be Driven Lower by Covid-19, FDIC Says

Wall Street Journal
Monday, October 19, 2020

The proportion of U.S. households without access to a bank account fell in recent years but could be driven up again by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey released Monday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The so-called unbanked rate declined to 5.4% in 2019 from 6.5% in 2017, as some 1.5 million households saw at least one member open a checking or savings account, the FDIC said in the biennial report. That rate represents the lowest level since at least 2009, when the survey began. Most of the decline reflected improvement in the circumstances of households that didn’tpreviously have bank accounts, the FDIC said. Unemployment is strongly correlated withlack of access to banking services and had fallen to 50-year lows before the pandemic sent the U.S. economy reeling this year.