My Day Without Banks
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
LOS ANGELES–Our first problem was that we couldn’t cash a check.
Our small group had come to a supermarket in west Los Angeles to cash a $15 personal check that we needed to help pay for several financial transactions we had set out to accomplish. But we couldn’t take the first step because the store, it turned out, wouldn’t cash an out-of-state check. So we were stalled at the starting line.
That was a revealing early moment in a financial scavenger hunt across Los Angeles last week that I joined along with several dozen participants from the financial industry, non-profit groups, and advocacy organizations. The field trip, called FinX, was organized by the Center for Financial Services Innovation, a group that works to expand access to the financial system. The goal was to expose us, if only briefly, to the daily experiences of the roughly 35 million American households who conduct much of their financial lives outside of the traditional banking system, according to federal figures.