After submitting a widely read op-ed that launched a rousing debate in The New Yorker early last month, Lisa Servon is back with more insights on why the poor eschew banks, this time in The Guardian. The Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy professor recounts her experience working as a cash-checker at a RiteCheck facility in the Bronx, and how the experience challenged her assumption that such businesses “are abusive, that they charge really high prices, that they take advantage of poor people.”
Instead, Servon found that in many instances, the poor simply couldn’t afford to bank, as these institutions pose hidden fees and lack transparency. The “unbanked,” as they are often termed, therefore must instead choose alternative services to fulfill their financial needs. Read Servon’s interview here.