Financial services needs of an inner city neighbourhood, a key informant needs assessment
Hoffer-Steiman, Bonnie Ann
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A key informant needs assessment was conducted to describe the use of financial services in the inner city, gaps in services, and education needed regarding money management. Fifty individuals, representing banks and credit unions and the alternative financial services sector--rent-to-own businesses, pawnshops, tax discounters, and cheque cashing outlets; schools, churches/ministries, residents, corner stores, community agencies and financial counselling services were interviewed. The central findings indicate that many neighbourhood residents are not having heir financial services needs met at a reasonable cost. Three major barriers exist: regarding (1) lack of access to banks and credit unions, (2) resorting to the exploitive alternative sector because of this lack of access and this sector's adaptations to the rigours of poverty, and (3) lack of power of people living in poverty relative to these systems. Implications for policies and practice are discussed.