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Home > Consumer Protection > Community Affairs > 2011 Survey of Banks' Efforts to Serve the Unbanked and Underbanked Frequently Asked Questions

2011 Survey of Banks' Efforts to Serve the Unbanked and Underbanked Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why is the FDIC conducting this survey of banks' efforts to serve the unbanked and underbanked?
    Section 7 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Reform Conforming Amendments Act of 2005 - PDF (PDF Help) requires the FDIC to conduct ongoing surveys of FDIC-insured institutions regarding their efforts to serve the unbanked. The first survey was conducted in 2008. The FDIC is strongly committed to advancing economic inclusion for all segments of society and these surveys are part of a number of initiatives that FDIC has underway. For more information on these FDIC initiatives, please visit:
  2. The FDIC has retained Gallup to administer the 2011 survey. Who is Gallup?
    Gallup is a leading public opinion and research firm.
  3. How can I be sure that my bank's survey responses will not be used for secondary purposes by Gallup?
    Under the terms of the contract, Gallup will only use the survey results within the scope of this project and will destroy all data upon completion of the project.
  4. How can I be sure my bank's responses will be protected and not be used for supervisory or other purposes by my regulator?
    The FDIC will not receive any information that could potentially identify a specific respondent bank. Contact information is gathered only to facilitate the data collection efforts. Under the terms of the contract, Gallup will collect survey responses and will certify that it has removed and destroyed all individual bank identifying data or records prior to delivery of the survey results to the FDIC. The FDIC or other bank regulators will not be able to link survey responses to individual institutions.
  5. Will all financial institutions be asked to complete this survey?
    No, so that valid statistical estimates can be prepared from the survey results, the survey invitations are being mailed to a random sample of FDIC-insured institutions. Only those institutions that are part of the sample will be invited to participate in the survey.
  6. How were institutions chosen to participate in the survey?
    The survey invitation is being mailed to a sample of FDIC-insured institutions. The selection of the institutions was designed so that valid, useful estimates can be derived from the survey results. The universe for the survey is all FDIC-insured institutions that have standard retail banking operations. Some types of specialized banking institutions, such as Industrial Loan Companies (ILCs) and credit card banks are not included in the study.
  7. Is it possible for my institution to participate in the survey even if we did not receive a survey invitation in the mail?
    No, to provide statistically valid results from the survey, only randomly selected institutions that receive survey invitation packets in the mail can participate in the survey.
  8. When will the survey be conducted?
    It is expected that bank headquarters will be surveyed in Fall 2011, and bank branches will be surveyed in early 2012.
  9. How will the survey be conducted?
    The survey will be completed online. Selected institutions will be mailed a survey invitation packet containing instructions and a link and unique pass code to access the survey online.
  10. Can institutions that were not selected and other interested individuals view a copy of the survey?
    Yes, the headquarters and branch surveys are available at (PDF Help) (PDF Help)
  11. Will the survey results be released to the public?
    It is expected that the aggregated survey results and survey findings will be submitted in a report to Congress and released to the public by the FDIC in 2012.
  12. What is asked on the survey?
    The survey will ask about your bank's corporate business strategies to identify and serve unbanked and underbanked populations, information about your bank's most basic entry level checking and savings accounts, auxiliary products offered, and financial education and outreach efforts that may be targeting unbanked and underbanked populations.
  13. Who should be responding to the survey at my bank?
    The headquarters survey should be completed by the person at your bank who is most knowledgeable about your bank's overall strategies to reach and serve unbanked and underbanked populations, as well as the features of basic entry-level transactional accounts. This may be your retail operations manager, compliance officer, CRA officer, chief lending officer, or your CEO or president. The branch survey should be completed by the person who is most knowledgeable about the selected branch's services and activities.
  14. Does the 2011 survey differ from the 2008 survey?
    Most of the topics covered in the 2011 survey were also covered by the 2008 survey. However, there are several notable differences between the surveys. First, the 2011 Bank Survey effort will survey both bank branches and bank headquarters; the 2008 survey included only bank headquarters. Second, the 2011 survey is streamlined and much shorter than the 2008 survey. Finally, the 2011 will be administered online; the 2008 survey used a paper-based instrument.
  15. Why do you want both headquarters and branch-level responses to the survey?
    The study consists of two related survey instruments: one is a survey of insured depository institution headquarters offices regarding corporate business strategies for serving the unbanked and underbanked, including bank product and services available to these households; and the other is designed to gather information from branches of FDIC-insured financial institutions on specific products and services offered at each location and specific methods used to reach the underserved. Data gathered from bank branches will allow the FDIC to provide results at a regional level.
  16. What if my bank or branches do not want to respond?
    Participation in the information collection effort is voluntary for all banks and branches. No information about any specific bank, branch, or bank customers collected in the survey questionnaire will be disclosed to the public. When branches are selected to participate in the study, you will have the opportunity to determine who is most appropriate to respond on behalf of the branch's experiences.
  17. What if I have technical questions or problems accessing or completing the survey?
    If you need assistance completing this survey, please contact Gallup Client Support by sending an email to or by calling 1-888-297-8999. Support is available from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Eastern Time, Monday through Thursday, or 8:00 am to 6:00 pm Eastern Time on Fridays.
  18. Who should I contact for other questions regarding this survey effort?
    For questions please contact:

Last Updated 10/6/2011

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