Summary of Better Banking

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Better Banking summary
If check cashing companies prey on the poor, why do low-income clients prefer them to banks?


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Brava, Lisa Servon! In her superb presentation, the professor of urban policy explores the shortcomings of banking services for poor communities in the United States. Unlike most academics and policy makers, who have a tendency to postulate from afar about the needs to the poor, Servon climbed down from her ivory tower and got her hands dirty working at a check casher in a poverty-stricken neighborhood. Her gallant efforts were not in vain: Servon deftly found the root of the problem. getAbstract recommends Servon’s persuasive conclusions to policy makers, banking executives and oblivious middle-class Americans who assume that the poor need their systems.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What policy makers assume the poor need in terms of financial services
  • What the poor really need
  • How check cashing stores can serve the poor better than banks can


Over the past several decades, in order to cut operational costs, banks have shifted transactions “from the teller window, to the ATM and now…to online banking.” Such developments have ostracized a large segment of the population. In the...
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About the Speaker

Lisa Servon is professor of urban policy at The New School in New York City. She wrote Bootstrap Capital.

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