The Banking and Unbanking of America:
A Local Conversation with Author Lisa Servon

Registration for this event is closed.

Date:  Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Time:  9-11 a.m. CT
Location: St. Louis Public Library
1301 Olive St.
St. Louis, Mo. 63103 (map it)

In many communities in the United States, there are more alternative financial service (AFS) providers (e.g., payday lenders, check-cashing centers) than there are Starbucks and McDonald's combined. Despite having higher fees and risks than traditional financial institutions, the AFS market appeals to one in five St. Louisans considered "underbanked" and is often a provider of choice for the one in 12 St. Louisans who have no relationship with a mainstream bank.

What's driving these choices? What role does financial decision-making have in financial health? And how are local service providers and financial institutions responding to the needs of the unbanked and underbanked in St. Louis?

We will explore these questions with Lisa Servon, author of The Unbanking of America: How the New Middle Class Survives, who examines the counterintuitive but seemingly rational appeal of the AFS industry for some members of our communities. A professor of city planning at the University of Pennsylvania, Servon spent months working at a check-cashing center and at a payday lender. She shares firsthand insights into gaps that allow this market to flourish, customer attraction to these providers and innovative approaches to this complex issue.

During a panel discussion, participants will hear about local reactions to Servon's work, including recent research and insight, area bankers' responses, initiatives to address the needs of the unbanked and underbanked in St. Louis, and examples of local products and services that provide affordable alternatives to the AFS industry. Afterward, attendees will be able to comment and ask panelists questions.

Participation in this event is free; however, registration is required by 8 p.m., Monday, June 19, as space is limited. Breakfast will be provided.

For more information, please contact Ray Boshara at 314-444-8747 or ray.j.boshara@stls.frb.org; or Jeanne Marra at 314-444-6146 or jeanne.c.marra@stls.frb.org.