it is exactly this demographic group—low- and moderate-income households—that is most in need of reasonably priced financial services. The percentage of U.S. households that are unbanked (i.e., do not have a bank account) or underbanked (i.e., have an account but rely on non-bank providers for some financial services and products) has been a longstanding policy concern. The most recent data (from a FDIC report that covers 2015) in this regard—based on a survey of more than 36,000 households nationwide—show that 7% of all households were unbanked and an additional 20% of all households were underbanked. Unsurprisingly, the percentages are substantially larger for low- and moderate-income households
Pointer from Mark Thoma. I wonder, though, whether Wal-Mart really has an advantage in serving these households as a bank. It is one thing to develop a great logistical system for moving products from far-flung suppliers to stores. It is another thing to deliver financial services to people with relatively low transaction sizes and more difficulty avoiding default.