ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- New figures released by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. show a high number of St. Louis residents do not use banks.
The study revealed just fewer than 10 percent of people in the St. Louis Metro area are considered to be unbanked.
According to the study, a staggering 28.6 percent among African Americans in the St Louis area do not use banks. Officials at the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing Opportunity Council say too many African-American residents either do not trust banks or think they do not have enough money to open a bank account.
“I think it’s a long history of neglect in these communities,” says Elisabeth Risch with the EHOC. Risch works with the council to try and get banks to expand to locations where they are lacking.
Currently filling the void are the check cashing and pay day loan businesses that now flourish in some neighborhoods, and charge fees that can outpace any bank.
Efforts to turn this around are evident in places like Pagedale, where that city’s first bank will open this fall.
But St. Louis Alderman Antonio French says banking guidelines and rules can sometimes turn away customers.
“In our community we’re trying to make efforts to get more folks into the traditional banking system because of so many hurdles they may have bounced a check so many years ago or credit problems," he said. "It makes it difficult to get back into banking.”