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Feb 17 -- The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) invites public comments to OMB by March 19, 2021 regarding the proposed Survey of Household Use of Banking and Financial Services (“Household Survey”). This survey was previously named the FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households. The Household Survey is scheduled to be conducted in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau as a supplement to its June 2021 Current Population Survey (CPS). The survey collects information on U.S. households' use of bank accounts and other transaction accounts including prepaid cards, online payment services, nonbank financial transaction services, and bank and nonbank credit. The results of these ongoing surveys will be published in the FDIC's How America Banks reports which help inform policymakers, bankers, and researchers about how households use, or don't use, the banking system.
 
The Household Survey is also a key component of the FDIC's efforts to comply with a Congressional mandate contained in section 7 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Reform Conforming Amendments Act of 2005 (“Reform Act”) (Pub. L. 109-173), which calls for the FDIC to conduct ongoing surveys “on efforts by insured depository institutions to bring those individuals and families who have rarely, if ever, held a checking account, a savings account or other type of transaction or check cashing account at an insured depository institution (hereafter in this section referred to as the `unbanked') into the conventional finance system.” Section 7 further instructs the FDIC to consider several factors in its conduct of the surveys, including: (1) “What cultural, language and identification issues as well as transaction costs appear to most prevent `unbanked' individuals from establishing conventional accounts”; and (2) “what is a fair estimate of the size and worth of the “unbanked” market in the United States.”

The Household Survey collects information on bank account ownership which provides a factual basis for measuring the number and percentage of households that are unbanked.

The Household Survey is the only population-representative survey conducted at the national level that provides state-level estimates of the size and characteristics of unbanked households for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Household Survey also collects information from unbanked households about the reasons that they do not have a bank account and their interest in having a bank account.

Increasingly, financial products and services are provided by nonbanks, many through the use of a mobile phone app. Households are selecting different combinations of bank and nonbank financial products and services to meet their core banking needs. Consequently, the Household Survey has broadened its focus to include a wide range of bank and nonbank financial products and services and to collect information on whether and how households are using these in combination.

To obtain this information, the FDIC partners with the U.S. Census Bureau, which administers the Household Survey supplement (“FDIC Supplement') to households that participate in the CPS. The FDIC supplement has been administered every other year since January 2009. The previous survey questionnaires and survey results can be accessed through the following link: http://www.economicinclusion.gov/​surveys/​. Interested members of the public may obtain a copy of the proposed survey questionnaire on the following web page: https://www.fdic.gov/​regulations/​laws/​federal/​2021/​2021-survey-of-household-use-of-banking-and-financial-services.pdf.
 
The FDIC has revised the Financial Services Household Survey for 2021. The revised survey preserves many elements of past survey questionnaires, including collecting household-level information about bank account ownership and use of an array of transaction and credit products from bank and non-bank providers. For households with bank accounts, the survey continues to ask about methods used to access their accounts, including mobile banking and visiting bank branches. The 2021 survey adds new questions about accounts with online payment services (e.g., PayPal), and the ways households use bank accounts and other transaction accounts (e.g. prepaid cards, online payment services) to handle their finances. The 2021 survey also includes a module that will explore how the Coronavirus pandemic may have impacted bank account ownership. Finally, miscellaneous changes to language were made for clarity.   
 
The main estimates to be prepared from the data collected in the June 2021 Survey of Household Use of Banking and Financial Services will be the number and percentage of households (and persons 16+) that are “unbanked” (i.e., do not have a deposit account at a bank or credit union). These estimates will be prepared for the nation, for states, and for large metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs).  

In addition, survey results will be used to analyze the reasons why unbanked households do not have an account, including certain factors (e.g., identification requirements) that prevent unbanked consumers from opening an account. The analysis will examine how households access their bank accounts, whether households use prepaid cards and online payment services (e.g., PayPal), and how households might use such transaction accounts in combination with (or instead of) bank accounts. In addition, the analysis will explore households’ use of non-bank financial transaction products and services, including money orders, money transfer services, and check cashing services. The survey will be used to examine households’ use of certain credit products including credit cards, personal loans and lines of credit, payday loans, pawn shop loans, and auto-title loans. Finally, the analysis will explore how the Coronavirus pandemic may have impacted bank account ownership.  

The economic and demographic information included in the CPS will be used to prepare tables that show how households’ use of bank and non-bank financial products and services varies across segments of the U.S. population. For example, the FDIC will produce cross-tabulations that show how bank account ownership differs by households’ demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.  Cross-tabulations of survey results will be produced for the nation, for states, and for large MSAs.
 
Household Survey submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202102-3064-006 Click View Supporting Statement for technical documentation.
FR notice inviting public comment: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/02/17/2021-03110/agency-information-collection-activities-submission-for-omb-review-comment-request   
 
Point of contact: Manny Cabeza, Regulatory Counsel, FDIC 202-898-3767 mcabeza@fdic.gov

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