Number of Oregon households with bank and credit union accounts continues to rise, agency says

SALEM, Oregon (KTVZ) – The number of unbanked households in Oregon has fallen from 3.8% in 2019 to just 1.8% in 2021, according to a study by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

This is important to many Oregonians because it means they can avoid paying for expensive alternative financial services like money orders, check cashing, and prepaid cards. Those costs can run into thousands of dollars over a consumer’s lifetime, the Oregon Department of Business and Consumer Services said this week.

Nationally, more than 95% of U.S. households had some sort of bank account in 2021. If a household is banked, it means that at least one member has a savings or checking account at a bank or a credit union.

“One of the challenges facing the unbanked is all the fees you have to pay to access your money,” TK Keen, administrator of Oregon’s Division of Financial Regulation told DCBS. “While the individual cost may seem minor, having to purchase several different financial products to pay rent, utilities and other monthly expenses starts to add up and eat into your monthly budget. I am pleased to see that our financial institutions continue to help us make progress in opening consumer accounts and therefore reducing the fees consumers pay in their daily lives.

Despite this improvement, Black, Indigenous, and Latino communities, as well as people with disabilities, are much more likely to be unbanked. Only 2.1% of white households are unbanked in the United States. In contrast, 9.3% of Latino households and 11.3% of Black households are unbanked. The Bank On movement is working to address this disparity.

“It’s important to bank as many people as possible,” Keen said. “Relationships with our financial institutions are useful for other financial services people need, such as a loan to buy a car, a mortgage to buy a house, and emergency loans for unexpected expenses that arise.”

The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation is a member of the Bank on the Oregon Coalition, a group of financial institutions, community organizations and government agencies committed to achieving the Count on national mission to reduce barriers to access to banking services by coordinating with financial institutions to make safe, low-cost bank accounts more readily available to consumers. Currently, 15 different institutions, including many state-chartered institutions, offer Bank On Certified Accounts in Oregon.

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About the Oregon DFR: The Financial Regulation Division is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov and dfr.oregon.gov.​​