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Federal Deposit
Insurance Corporation

Each depositor insured to at least $250,000 per insured bank

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Share of U.S. Households without a Bank Account Continues to Drop

Unbanked Rate Declines to 6.5 Percent in 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 23, 2018
Media contact:
Julianne Fisher Breitbeil
(202) 898-6895
jbreitbeil@fdic.gov

For the third consecutive survey period, the number of U.S. households without a bank account fell, according to the results of the 2017 biennial National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households released today by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

"The good news is that our nation's banking system is serving more American households than ever before. The bad news is that even as the overall number of people who are unbanked has declined, 8.4 million households continue to lack a banking relationship," said FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams.

The percentage of U.S. households that were unbanked in 2017 the most recent year of the survey, was 6.5 percent, the lowest rate recorded since the FDIC began conducting the survey in 2009. It was down from 7.0 percent in 2015, and down significantly from a high of 8.2 percent in 2011. The unbanked numbers for 2017 equate to 14.1 million adults in 8.4 million households not having a checking or savings account.

The decline in the unbanked rate from 2015 to 2017 can be explained almost entirely by improvements in the socioeconomic circumstances of U.S. households.

The number of underbanked U.S. households was also down compared to 2015 levels. In 2017, 18.7 percent of U.S. households were considered underbanked, or approximately 48.9 million adults in 24.2 million households. For purposes of the survey, the term underbanked refers to households that had an account at an insured institution but also obtained financial products or services outside of the banking system.

Consistent with previous surveys, banking status in 2017 varied considerably across the U.S. population. For example, unbanked and underbanked rates were higher among lower-income households, less-educated households, younger households, black and Hispanic households, households headed by working-age individuals with a disability, and households with incomes that tend to vary from month to month.

Mobile banking continues to become an increasingly important way for consumers to access their accounts. In 2017, mobile banking was used by 40.4 percent of banked U.S. households to access their account, almost double the 23.2 percent four years earlier.

According to the survey results, 86.0 percent of banked households visited a bank branch in the past 12 months, and 35.4 percent visited ten or more times. This held true for households that used online or mobile banking as their primary means for accessing their accounts: 81.0 percent of banked households that used mobile banking as their primary method visited a branch in the past 12 months, and nearly one-quarter (23.0 percent) visited ten or more times.

Other key findings in the survey include:

The FDIC survey began in 2009 and is conducted every other year in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau. It provides detailed national, state, and local data to inform understanding of access to banking and to support economic inclusion efforts.

Go to economicinclusion.gov for additional survey findings, to generate custom tables, and to download information from all five surveys. Data also is available for metropolitan areas and states.

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Congress created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1933 to restore public confidence in the nation's banking system. The FDIC insures deposits at the nation's banks and savings associations, 5,542 as of June 30, 2018. It promotes the safety and soundness of these institutions by identifying, monitoring and addressing risks to which they are exposed. The FDIC receives no federal tax dollars—insured financial institutions fund its operations.

FDIC press releases and other information are available on the Internet at www.fdic.gov, by subscription electronically (go to www.fdic.gov/about/subscriptions/index.html) and may also be obtained through the FDIC's Public Information Center (877-275-3342 or 703-562-2200). PR-77-2018

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