Nevadans ‘underbanked’

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation reports that about a quarter of Nevada households are not engaged by the banking system, with 27.3 percent either “unbanked” (67,000 households) or “underbanked” (201,000 households). Unbanked households are defined as lacking a checking or savings account. Underbanked households are those that have bank accounts but still rely on alternatives like money orders, check cashing services, payday loans, rent-to-own agreements and pawn shops.

Why is this bad? Heritage Bank of Nevada president Stan Wilmoth said that reliance on check cashing services to cash paychecks can be expensive, and carrying large amounts of cash around is risky. In addition, he said, “With a checking account they can have more control of their cash, documented expenditures, all that stuff. … We would love to get out and talk with some of those folks and find out why they’re reluctant to use banks.” He added, “Any chance I get when I talk to civic groups I raise this question and urge them to help educate people on these issues.”