The Unbanking of America

The Unbanking of America

How the New Middle Class Survives

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
An urgent, absorbing exposé--why Americans are fleeing our broken banking system in growing numbers, and how alternatives are rushing in to do what banks once did

What do an undocumented immigrant in the South Bronx, a high-net-worth entrepreneur, and a twenty-something graduate student have in common? All three are victims of our dysfunctional mainstream bank and credit system. Today nearly half of all Americans live from paycheck to paycheck, and income volatility has doubled over the past thirty years. Banks, with their high monthly fees and overdraft charges, are gouging their low- and middle-income customers, while servingonly the wealthiest Americans.

Lisa Servon delivers a stunning indictment of America's banks, together with eye-opening dispatches from inside a range of banking alternatives that have sprung up to fill the void. She works as a teller at RiteCheck, a check-cashing business in the South Bronx, and as a payday lender in Oakland. She looks closely at the workings of a tanda , an informal lending club. And she delivers fascinating, hopeful portraits of the entrepreneurs reacting to the unbanking of America by designing systems to creatively serve many of us. Banks were once essential pillars of our lives; now we can no longer count on them to do right by us.

"Required reading for fans of muckraking authors like Barbara Ehrenreich, this fascinating look at the future of money management insists that the 'unbanked' are a sector deserving of respect and solid options." -- Publishers Weekly , starred review
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017.
ISBN: 9780544602311
Branch Call Number: 332.10973 SER
Characteristics: xix, 250 pages ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jul 15, 2018

talks to the necessary place of check cashing venues versus banks, and how banks have become fee based instead of lending based profit centers.

DBRL_ReginaF Apr 24, 2018

Economics in the US is so complicated. I would love to see her update this now that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is under attack. I have no doubt that solutions will eventually be found but how long will it take and what will it look like?

Apr 16, 2017

The book was obviously finished before the elections so she has great hope for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She doesn't point any fingers but also doesn't mince words about how far our system is from fairly and efficiently serving our financial needs.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at APL

To Top