Residents of California's Bay Area are increasingly using new alternative finance
providers to obtain their money, rather than banks or traditional check cashing companies or short term lenders.
Oakland North reports consumers are seeking alternative means of obtaining cash because many banks are closing branches in poorer income neighborhoods and imposing fees on clients with low balances on their accounts. The source noted that in San Francisco, check cashing businesses grew from 104 in 2008 to 136 in 2010. Many check cashing stores that charge lower fees on both cashed checks and short term loans are appearing in the area to provide fast money to residents as quickly and efficiently as possible, Oakland North explained. Such an enterprise is particularly useful, the 2011 RAND American Life Panel Survey noted, as approximately 15.5 percent of Americans do not have a bank account, which the report claimed was up from an 8 percent figure published in 2009 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Most unbanked citizens are from a low income bracket and cited financial barriers and preference as the root behind the lack of professional banking.