Pawnshop, Check-cashing , even the local Walmart are just a few ways communities handle typical banking Transactions off the Grid. Millions of Americans pay outrageous fees to check cashiers, payday lenders and other predatory businesses - just for the right to use their own money. If you think about it, its all a way to prey on the already down and out with fee after fee.

More than one-third of households that don’t have a bank account say the main reason is that they don’t have enough money. The average post-tax income of such households is just $18,203, according to NerdWallet’s analysis of data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The high fees associated with alternative financial services only make matters worse.

When people feel like, ‘Lenders weren’t fair with me; I don’t have any responsibility to be fair with them.’ If we go far enough down that line, much of the fabric of our economy starts to unravel.

Senator Elizabeth Warren

The neon allure of Check-cashing centers blanket communities already encapsulated in blight.

How is it we have allowed the most vulnerable to continually be subjected and preyed upon by fee for services

Check-cashing businesses typically charge between 1% and 10% of a check’s value, and that means unbanked consumers who don’t use a prepaid card that offers direct deposit pay an average of $182.03 per year just to access their money, according to NerdWallet’s analysis of FDIC data and assuming a fee of 1% of the check’s value. People who don’t have bank accounts are about six times more likely to use check-cashing services than people who do.

Relying on services like check cashing and money orders is expensive, and it’s those Americans who can least afford these fees and inconveniences that find themselves un-banked.

If you don’t belong to a financial institution, you can’t bank on your time, adding that this may force people to miss work, hurting their paychecks. If people have to travel to take care of money-related chores, they incur transportation costs

Everyone’s a risk, but the risk for people with no credit history “is highly uncertain.”

And that risk can have a trickle-down effect into other areas of people’s lives, harming their ability to take out auto loans, get credit cards and even buy a home.

The deck is stacked against blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans because they are dealt, an immediate “one-two punch” at the very moment of birth. They are not just more likely to be born into families with less wealth, education and income, but they are also more likely to live in poor neighborhoods where high-quality schools are more difficult to find, crime is high and other amenities are unavailable.

Simply equalizing starting conditions wouldn’t eliminate racial and ethnic inequalities, but would at least help reduce them. It is not enough to equalize starting conditions because blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans are exposed later in their life to “educational, labor market and criminal justice institutions riddled with discriminatory practices.”

“It is nonetheless especially attractive to cut off at the source those processes of cumulative advantage and disadvantage that convert smaller differences early in life to larger ones in adulthood.”

“A distinctly American commitment,” said Grusky, “is that, when the race begins, everyone should be lined up at the same starting place.’’

Tell us your story of being denied access to banking services, and products for personal or small business purposes. We need to hear from you. Be sure to name names!

A closed mouth does not get fed! To enact change, speak up so we can demand change!

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HPP CARES CDE's accomplishments these past few years have been significant and all-encompassing; striving to advocate under the National Coalition for Equities’ umbrella to maintain a powerful community voice among the Federal and State regulators and major private sector corporations to address public policy issues, and to focus on the wealth & income inequality affecting affordable homeownership and small business growth. With the NCFE, HPP CARES CDE’s outreach efforts have led to an increase in corporate social responsibility and consumer protection. We have been able to reach more people, collaborate with more companies, meet with more regulators, all in the name of helping deserving individuals become sustainable homebuyers, successful small business owners, protected consumers and empowering California communities. HPP CARES CDE is at the forefront of helping people of color become partners in our mission to reduce income and wealth inequality and build stronger futures for all minority groups.