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First accounts: a U.S. Treasury Department program to expand access to financial institutions
In 2002, there were almost 56 million individuals in the U.S. who did not have either a savings or checking account at a bank or other traditional financial institution. Additionally, over 83 percent of families without a bank account earn under $25,000. These families often use alternative financial services, including check cashing, payday loans, refund anticipation loans, and others, that provide convenience at high cost. A 2004 report estimated that these alternative financial services handled 280 million transactions, generating $78 billion in fee revenue. As a result, ?unbanked? ...