CFPB to begin project focusing on rural banking deserts

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last week announced a new initiative that will focus on financial issues facing rural areas.

“Rural people are deeply committed to the places they live but face real challenges in accessing reliable services and good jobs, keeping up with household expenses, maintaining farming, and finding affordable housing,” CFPB officials said, in announcing the project.

They said they will initially focus on rural banking deserts, discriminatory and predatory agricultural credit, and manufactured housing. They said that last month Director Rohit Chopra met with representatives of rural organizations to discuss the needs of their communities.

CFPB officials said they heard that there has been a sharp decline in the number of banks in rural areas. “Trends of bank consolidation have also resulted in the loss of local, on-the-ground knowledge of how rural communities operate,” they noted. “As a result, banking relationships and credit disappear, followed by small businesses and jobs.”


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