From Payday Loans To Pawnshops Fringe Banking The Unbanked And Health
Author: Jerzy Eisenberg-Guyot, Caislin Firth, Marieka Klawitter, Anjum Hajat
The fringe banking industry, including payday lenders and check cashers, was nearly nonexistent three decades ago. Today it generates tens of billions of dollars in annual revenue. The industry’s growth accelerated in the 1980s with financial deregulation and the working class’s declining resources. With Current Population Survey data, we used propensity score matching to investigate the relationship between fringe loan use, unbanked status, and self-rated health, hypothesizing that the material and stress effects of exposure to these financial services would be harmful to health. We found that fringe loan use was associated with 38 percent higher prevalence of poor or fair health, while being unbanked (not having one’s own bank account) was associated with 17 percent higher prevalence. Although a variety of policies could mitigate the health consequences of these exposures, expanding social welfare programs and labor protections would address the root causes of the use of fringe services and advance health equity.