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FDIC Federal Register Citations

[Federal Register: August 22, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 164)]
[Notices]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr22au08-58]                   

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FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION

Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review;
Comment Request

FDIC Unbanked/Underbanked Questionnaire supplement to U.S. Census
bureau current Population Survey:

ACTION: Notice of information collection to be submitted to OMB for
review and approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

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SUMMARY: In accordance with requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act
of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), the FDIC hereby gives notice that it
is submitting to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a request
for OMB review and approval of the new information collection described
below. The collection is related to a mandate under section 7 of the
Federal Deposit Insurance Reform Conforming Amendments Act of 2005
(``Reform Act'') (Pub. L. 109-173), which calls for the FDIC to conduct
ongoing surveys ``on efforts by insured depository institutions to
bring those individuals and families who have rarely, if ever, held a
checking account, a savings account or other type of transaction or
check cashing account at an insured depository institution (hereafter
in this section referred to as the `unbanked') into the conventional
finance system.'' Section 7 further instructs the FDIC to consider
several factors in its conduct of the surveys, including: (1) ``What
cultural, language and identification issues as well as transaction
costs appear to most prevent `unbanked' individuals from establishing
conventional accounts''; and (2) ``What is a fair estimate of the size
and worth of the `unbanked' market in the United States.''
    To satisfy the Congressional mandate, the FDIC intends to conduct
two complementary surveys. One is a survey of FDIC-insured depository
institutions on their efforts to serve underbanked, as well as
unbanked, populations (underbanked populations include individuals who
have an account with an insured depository but also rely on non-bank
alternative financial service providers for transaction services or
high-cost credit products). The FDIC has already obtained OMB approval
for this

[[Page 49672]]

survey and the survey effort is currently in process. The other is a
survey of U.S. households to estimate the size and worth of the
unbanked and underbanked markets and to identify the factors that
inhibit their participation in the mainstream banking system. The
household survey would be conducted for the FDIC by the U.S. Bureau of
the Census, as a supplement to its monthly Current Population Survey
(CPS) in January 2009. This notice addresses the household survey.

DATES: Comments must be submitted on or before September 22, 2008.

ADDRESSES: Interested parties are invited to submit written comments on
the collection of information entitled: National Unbanked and
Underbanked Household Survey. Comments should refer to the name of the
collection and may be submitted by any of the following methods:
     http://www.FDIC.gov/regulations/laws/federal/notices.html.
     E-mail: comments@fdic.gov. Include the name and number of
the collection in the subject line of the message.
     Mail: Leneta G. Gregorie (202.898.3719), Counsel, Federal
Deposit Insurance Corporation, Room F-1064, 550 17th Street, NW.,
Washington, DC 20429.
     Hand Delivery: Comments may be hand-delivered to the guard
station at the rear of the 550 17th Street Building (located on F
Street), on business days between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.
    A copy of the comments should also be submitted to the OMB Desk
Officer for the FDIC, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs,
Office of Management and Budget, New Executive Office Building, Room
10235, Washington, DC 20503.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Interested members of the public may
obtain a copy of the survey and related instructions by clicking on the
link for the National Unbanked and Underbanked Household Survey on the
following Web page: http://www.fdic.gov/regulations/laws/federal/index.html.
Interested members of the public may also obtain additional
information about the collection, including a paper copy of the
proposed collection and related instructions, without charge, by
contacting Leneta Gregorie at the address identified above, or by
calling (202) 898-3719.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    Proposal to seek OMB approval for the following new collection of
information:
    Title: National Unbanked and Underbanked Household Survey.
    OMB Number: New collection.
    Frequency of Response: Once.
    Affected Public: U.S. Households.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 54,000.
    Average time per response: 10 minutes (0.166 hours) per respondent.
    Estimated Total Annual Burden: 0.166 hours x 54,000 respondents =
8,964 hours.
    General Description of Collection: This collection is related to a
mandate under section 7 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Reform
Conforming Amendments Act of 2005 (``Reform Act'') (Pub. L. 109-173),
which calls for the FDIC to conduct ongoing surveys ``on efforts by
insured depository institutions to bring those individuals and families
who have rarely, if ever, held a checking account, a savings account or
other type of transaction or check cashing account at an insured
depository institution (hereafter in this section referred to as the
`unbanked') into the conventional finance system.'' The Congressional
mandate further requires the FDIC to conduct ongoing surveys to, among
other things, estimate the size and worth of the unbanked market in the
United States and to identify the cultural, language and identification
issues as well as transaction costs that appear to most prevent
unbanked individuals from establishing accounts with insured depository
institutions.
    To satisfy the Congressional mandate, the FDIC has proposed
conducting two complementary surveys related to unbanked and
underbanked consumers (underbanked consumers include individuals who
have an account with an insured depository institution, but also rely
on non-bank alternative financial service providers for transaction
services or high-cost credit products).
    The first survey effort, which has already obtained OMB approval
and is currently underway, is a survey of FDIC-insured depository
institutions on their efforts to serve unbanked and underbanked
consumers. The second survey effort, which is the subject of this
notice, would be a national survey of U.S. households to estimate the
size and worth of the unbanked and underbanked markets and to identify
the barriers households perceive when deciding how and where to conduct
financial transactions.
    To obtain the information required by the Reform Act related to
unbanked and underbanked households, for this survey effort the FDIC
proposes to partner with the U.S. Census Bureau to conduct a survey of
U.S. households as a supplement to Census' CPS in January 2009. The
supplement would be administered to households that participate in the
CPS and would be 10 minutes in length, on average. Based on their
responses to the survey questions, respondents will be classified as
unbanked or underbanked, allowing estimation of the size of those
populations, and information on their demographic characteristics will
be derived from their responses to demographic questions in the CPS.
    The FDIC supplement to the Census survey is designed to yield
significant new data on the numbers and demographic characteristics of
unbanked and underbanked households, as well as the barriers they
perceive when deciding how and where to conduct financial transactions.
Currently, there is a lack of basic data on the number of unbanked and
underbanked households in the U.S. and on the factors that may promote
or hinder access to the mainstream financial system. This will be the
first survey of its kind on this topic to be conducted at the national
level and results will also be reportable at the state level. The
results will help policymakers and the industry better understand the
extent to which U.S. households are financially underserved, the
reasons why U.S. households may be financially underserved, and the
opportunities that exist to better serve them.
    Comment Discussion: On May 19, 2008 (73 FR 28824), the FDIC issued
a request for comment on the proposed National Survey of Unbanked and
Underbanked Households. One comment was received from a banking trade
organization. The commenter expressed general support for the survey,
noting that the banking industry is actively searching for ways to
expand the universe of bank customers by identifying ways to transition
unbanked consumers into users of mainstream products and services. The
commenter indicated that the survey data would enhance these private
initiatives to develop financial services for unbanked and underbanked
consumers. The commenter did, however, express concern that certain
questions may be phrased in such a way as to unintentionally steer
respondents to certain answers which are critical of banks and that
several questions offer the failure of banks to provide check cashing
services, a service banks usually provide to their account holders, as
a possible reason for not having or closing a bank account. To mitigate
the possibility of unintentional steering, the commenter suggested that
the FDIC consult with experts in the field of

[[Page 49673]]

polling to determine whether there are more neutral and reliable ways
to elicit the information sought. The commenter further suggested that
the FDIC eliminate failure to provide check cashing services as a
possible answer to questions probing the reasons a respondent does not
have or has closed an account.
    The commenter also suggested that the FDIC expand the survey, to
elicit more detailed information in a number of areas, including the
attitudes of the unbanked toward financial education opportunities; the
reasons some consumers prefer to operate on a cash basis; what
consumers like and dislike about payroll cards and other pre-paid
products and the extent to which users of such products tend to be
interested in opening checking or savings accounts; and the extent to
which price and other factors affect the choices made by unbanked
consumers when shopping for financial products and services. Finally,
the commenter noted that the survey does not include questions of a
demographic nature such as the respondent's age, education, income,
line of work, ethnicity, or how long he or she has resided in the
country. The commenter, therefore, requested that the FDIC incorporate
demographic questions into the survey or clarify that such questions
will be included as part of the regularly scheduled questions asked by
census takers.
    In its development of the survey questions for the National Survey
of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, the FDIC attempted to balance
its statutory mandate to identify the factors that appear to prevent
unbanked individuals from establishing accounts with insured depository
institutions and the demographic characteristics of the unbanked
population against the need to minimize burden on respondents. To
achieve this balance and to ensure that the questions were structured
in a way to minimize bias, the FDIC consulted with a nationally
recognized polling firm with expert credentials in qualitative and
quantitative research and analysis. The FDIC also worked closely with a
cognitive testing expert on the faculty of the University of
Connecticut and with staff of the Census Bureau's Demographic Surveys
Division and the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics. After
two rounds of cognitive testing with corresponding adjustments to
survey questions, the FDIC is confident that the survey questions are
structured in a way that minimizes possible skewing of survey results.
    With respect to suggested deletion of failure to provide check
cashing services as a potential response to questions seeking
information on the reasons for not having or closing an account, the
FDIC is aware that such services are usually extended to bank
customers. However, provision of such services to account holders is
not always the case and, in many instances, may be restricted by
several factors such as account standing and the institution on which
the check is drawn. Therefore, the FDIC believes that failure to
provide check cashing services is a valid response option for questions
seeking to determine the reasons for not having or closing an account.
    Regarding the suggestion that the FDIC expand the survey to elicit
more detailed information in a variety of areas, the FDIC agrees that
the utility of the survey would be enhanced by the addition of
questions that would provide more depth on factors underlying consumer
choices and preferences with respect to financial products and
services. However, the FDIC is constrained by Census Bureau limits on
the length of the survey. Perhaps these issues can be explored in
future survey efforts.
    On the demographic issues raised by the commenter, the FDIC has
clarified that demographic information about respondents is collected
by the Current Population Survey, eliminating the need for such
questions to be included in the supplemental survey.

Request for Comment

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether these collections of
information are necessary for the proper performance of the FDIC's
functions, including whether the information has practical utility; (b)
the accuracy of the estimate of the burden of the information
collections, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions
used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the
information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the
information collections on respondents, including through the use of
automated collection techniques or other forms of information
technology. All comments will become a matter of public record.

    Dated at Washington, DC, this 19th day of August, 2008.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Robert E. Feldman,
Executive Secretary.
 [FR Doc. E8-19478 Filed 8-21-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6714-01-P
 


 


Last Updated 08/22/2008 Regs@fdic.gov