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Friday, December 4, 2009 - 9:55am

Georgia's Poor Don't Bank

Updated: 5 years ago.
91 counties are plagued with persistent poverty in Georgia. (map courtesy of UGA Initiative on Poverty and the Economy)

Georgia has a high rate of people that don’t have bank accounts. It exceeds the national average… mostly due to poverty.

Twelve percent of Georgians don’t bank. That’s based on an FDIC study. The agency says having a bank account is needed for financial security.

The main reason people don’t have a bank account according to the report is they don’t have enough money.

It also found blacks and hispanics are more likely not to bank.

Georgia’s rate exceeds the national average by four percent.

UGA Professor Joe Wharton studies poverty. He says banks are irrelevant to the poor.

“You can get your cash checked with a check cashing organization, much easier than a bank," says Wharton. "What’s the point of putting your money in a bank if you’re going to take it right out and pay banking fees and all that sort of stuff?”

The FDIC wants to get more people to the bank and plans to use the study to find ways to do so.

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