Often, when we hear about the problems of access in today’s banking system, we are hearing about developing nations, rural lands without proper infrastructure and technology to support modern banking. But we ignore the fact that for many Americans, the changes in the banking system have been enough to leave them out in the cold as well.

The truth is, the poorer your family, the more likely it is that you are shut out from traditional banking options. That means you rely more heavily on non-traditional options like check cashers and payday loans which are riskier and more expensive. As banks have consolidated and grown, turning into the mega-corporations they are today, the local savings and loan banks of old have given way to predatory, self-serving institutions that take advantage of the already disadvantaged.

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