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Waters on Expanding Access to the Financial System: Having Access to a Bank Account Is Fundamental to Financial Security

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, gave the following statement at a Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions hybrid hearing entitled, “Banking the Unbanked: Exploring Private and Public Efforts to Expand Access to the Financial System.” 

Thank you, Chair Perlmutter. 

I am pleased that this hearing focuses on access to banking services, especially for communities in banking deserts without a nearby branch to go to. In the Los Angeles area, the rate of unbanked households is higher than the national rate, and the unbanked are disproportionately lower-income households of color.  

Having access to a bank account is fundamental to financial security. Millions of Americans who did not have a bank account during this pandemic had to wait weeks or months to receive stimulus checks while they struggled to afford housing, to take care of their loved ones, and otherwise make ends meet. Wall Street megabanks have mistreated unbanked individuals for long enough. Our constituents in California, Colorado, New York, and across the country are fed up and are advocating for new consumer-centered solutions, such as no-fee FedAccounts and public banking. 

I look forward to the testimony from our witnesses, and I yield back.

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