Tom: Do some people actually choose to not have a bank account?
Mellody: Yes, but I would not advise it. As I just mentioned, some people simply want to avoid fees or charges that come along with accounts, or do not like having to deal with a minimum balance. However, if you have access and the ability to keep your own account, it is important that you do, for the reasons we have talked about today.
Tom: What efforts are being taken by the Obama administration?
Mellody: It has not been developed into a program yet, but the Obama administration launched a new initiative to boost bank access for the millions of Americans who currently do not have it. On Tuesday of last week, the Treasury Department hosted a conference to examine possible solutions, and announced plans to partner with nonprofits and companies such as J.P. Morgan, Paypal, and The Gates Foundation to reach low-income and other underserved populations in the U.S.
Possible solutions include was looking at better ways to employ technology to offer banking services, which has emerged as a key point of access in developing countries as a result of the growing use of mobile phones and mobile payments. So, while there is nothing solid at this point, the White House is exploring ways to move forward.
Tom: That’s great. Thanks for joining us this morning, Mellody!
Mellody is president of Ariel Investments, a Chicago-based money management firm that serves individual investors and retirement plans through its no-load mutual funds and separate accounts. Additionally, she is a regular financial contributor and analyst for CBS news and CBS.com.