CFPB: Rural areas are becoming banking deserts

Bank and credit union consolidation is hitting rural areas particularly hard, leaving residents without the simple financial services they have become accustomed to, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said in a report Tuesday.

A fast-paced exodus of in-person banking services is underway, with rural communities ten times more likely than urban areas to be located in banking “deserts,” CFPB research revealed.

“Rural people also depend more heavily on bank branches and the relationship banking they offer, but banking deserts are more common in rural areas, in part due to bank consolidation,” the report continued.

“For decades, many government agencies have turned a blind eye to pressing problems facing families, farmers, and businesses in rural communities,” said bureau Director Rohit Chopra. “The CFPB will be focusing on ways to ensure that rural communities can better access relationship banking services and achieve their economic potential.”


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