South Carolina Sees Sharp Improvement in Number of Unbanked, Underbanked
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The percentage of unbanked South Carolinians has fallen to its lowest level since the FDIC began tracking the data during the last decade.
Some 8.9 percent of Palmetto State households were classified as unbanked through last year, according to the FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, released Thursday. That’s down from 10.5 percent in 2013, or a drop of more than 15 percent.
During the same period, the percentage of underbanked South Carolinians fell to 23.4 percent from 25.6 percent, according to FDIC data. To see the survey, click here.
“This is another indication of the successful efforts that South Carolina bankers have made to reach out to all segments of society,” said SCBA President and CEO Fred Green. “Many of our member institutions have implemented programs and plans specifically designed to assist the unbanked and underbanked.”
Among surrounding states, South Carolina fared well. While the FDIC, which began tracking unbanked and underbanked households in 2009, didn’t provide regional breakdowns, the Palmetto State performed better than nearly all other Southern states in terms of reducing its percentage of unbanked and underbanked. South Carolina’s improvement of 15 percent compared favorably to the overall national increase of 9 percent.
“I can’t help but believe that the hard work of our Young Bankers Division, which has as one of its key initiatives financial literacy, played a strong part in making this happen,” Green added.
Between 2013 and 2015, South Carolina bankers, particularly those involved in the Young Bankers Division, touched nearly 200,000 South Carolinians through financial literacy efforts.
“That number has remained strong for many years and I believe there is a direct correlation between the Young Bankers’ financial literacy push and the drop in unbanked and underbanked individuals in our state,” Green said. “Financial literacy has long been one of the prime areas of focus for us and results like these show they’re making a difference.”
The South Carolina Bankers Association is the trade and professional association representing 75 financial institutions across the state. The SCBA’s mission is to advocate for banks and bankers serving South Carolina, to provide legislative and regulatory leadership, to furnish educational support and career development for bankers, to serve as media liaison on industry issues, to improve South Carolinians’ financial literacy and to bolster valuable peer-to-peer interaction between member banks and business-to-business interaction between member banks and goods and services providers.