Payday lenders and pawn shops may not seem like the best places to do your banking, but a rising number of Las Vegans are relying on them for personal finances.
A total of 33.2 percent of Las Vegas Valley households were “underbanked” last year, up from 20 percent in 2009, according to a new survey today from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., a banking regulatory agency.
The FDIC defines “underbanked” as households with checking or savings accounts that also used non-bank money orders, check-cashing stores, remittances, payday loans, pawn shops and other services.
These alternative lending options typically carry high interest rates. They’re often used by people who need cash quickly and can’t obtain the money from more traditional lenders like a bank or credit union.
Meanwhile, the number of “fully banked” households in Las Vegas is falling.
Roughly 57.3 percent of valley households last year were fully banked, meaning they had a bank account and didn’t use any alternative lending, down from 71.3 percent in 2009.
Nevertheless, the percentage of “unbanked” households improved slightly to 6.2 percent last year from 6.8 percent in 2009. Unbanked households do not have any accounts with an insured depository institution.
In Nevada, 31.2 percent of households statewide were underbanked last year, up from 21 percent in 2009. Some 58 percent were fully banked last year, down from 70.3 percent, while 7.5 percent were unbanked, up from 6.6 percent.
Nationally, 20.1 percent of households were underbanked in 2011, up from 18.2 percent two years earlier, although the FDIC cautioned that these figures “are not directly comparable” because of differences in the surveys.
Nearly 69 percent of U.S. households were fully banked last year, down from 71.4 percent in 2009, while 8.2 percent of households were unbanked, up from 7.6 percent two years earlier.