WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Boosting access to the U.S. banking system is emerging as a prominent theme as Democrats tap discontent over income inequality ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
Following the 2008 financial crisis, many banks pulled back from their poorest customers. The shift has had lasting costs for millions of Americans now struggling to access mainstream financial services such as checking accounts and credit cards.
Years - Democrats - Firebrands - Senators - Bernie
Ten years later, Democrats, driven by progressive firebrands like Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, see financial inclusion as a draw for voters.
The three Democrats, along with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, have advocated for the U.S. Postal Service to provide banking services. Senator Cory Booker has said he wants to ban overdraft fees and Senator Kamala Harris has called for a crackdown on payday lenders.
Gillibrand - Booker - Harris - Sanders - Warren
Gillibrand, Booker, Harris, Sanders and Warren are all running for president.
Humu Issifu, an African-American school worker from Chicago, said overdraft debt led her to close her checking account. Issifu, who now has a savings account, said she felt lawmakers do not care about struggles like hers but they should.
Students - People - Issifu
“I think more young students, more people would vote,” Issifu, 26, said.
Unlike other liberal issues such as affordable housing, gun-control and taxing the rich, financial inclusion resonates among two key demographic groups: minorities and the rural Americans who powered Donald Trump into the White House, experts say.
Candidates - Ways - Issues - Justice - Latino
“Candidates … are looking for ways to raise issues that are inherently about racial justice. They want to make sure they are mobilizing black and Latino voters,” said Maurice BP-Weeks, co-executive director of Action Center on Race & the Economy.
“But they are also looking for things that are common themes for people living in rural communities. Financial inclusion is one of those things that ties together those people.”
Nearly 85 million Americans, predominantly from low-income, rural and...
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