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The Unbanking of America

The Unbanking of America Author Lisa Servon
ISBN-10 9780544611184
Release 2017-01-10
Pages 272
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An urgent, absorbing exposé—why Americans are fleeing our broken banking system in growing numbers, and how alternatives are rushing in to do what banks once did What do an undocumented immigrant in the South Bronx, a high-net-worth entrepreneur, and a twenty-something graduate student have in common? All three are victims of our dysfunctional mainstream bank and credit system. Today nearly half of all Americans live from paycheck to paycheck, and income volatility has doubled over the past thirty years. Banks, with their high monthly fees and overdraft charges, are gouging their low- and middle-income customers, while serving only the wealthiest Americans. Lisa Servon delivers a stunning indictment of America’s banks, together with eye-opening dispatches from inside a range of banking alternatives that have sprung up to fill the void. She works as a teller at RiteCheck, a check-cashing business in the South Bronx, and as a payday lender in Oakland. She looks closely at the workings of a tanda, an informal lending club. And she delivers fascinating, hopeful portraits of the entrepreneurs reacting to the unbanking of America by designing systems to creatively serve many of us. Banks were once essential pillars of our lives; now we can no longer count on them to do right by us. "Required reading for fans of muckraking authors like Barbara Ehrenreich, this fascinating look at the future of money management insists that the 'unbanked' are a sector deserving of respect and solid options." —Publishers Weekly, starred review



The Unbanking of America

The Unbanking of America Author Lisa Servon
ISBN-10 1328745708
Release 2018-02-13
Pages 272
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An urgent and incisive expose--why Americans are fleeing our broken banking system in growing numbers, and how banking alternatives, from predatory to responsible to innovative, are rushing in to do what banks once did



The Unbanking of America

The Unbanking of America Author Lisa Servon
ISBN-10 0544602315
Release 2017-01-10
Pages 288
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An urgent and incisive exposé of our broken banking system--why Americans are fleeing traditional banks in growing numbers What do an undocumented immigrant in the South Bronx, a high-net-worth entrepreneur, and a twenty-something graduate student have in common? All three are victims of our dysfunctional mainstream bank and credit system. The Unbanking of America exposes the ways in which banks have quietly abandoned lower- and middle-class consumers in favor of servicing only the wealthiest. Today nearly half of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck, as income volatility has doubled over the past thirty years. Banks, with their monthly fees and high overdraft charges, take advantage of these fluctuations rather than help their customers manage them. Lisa Servon delivers provocative dispatches from inside a range of banking alternatives--from predatory to responsible--as new players rush in to do what banks once did. She works as a teller at RiteCheck, a check-cashing business in the South Bronx, and as a payday lender in Oakland, California, listening to the stories of the alternative bankers as well as their consumers. And she delivers fascinating, hopeful portraits of the entrepreneurs who are counting on a permanent "unbanking" of America--and designing systems to transform how nonwealthy Americans can gain the access and agency to their own money that they, especially, need.



Bootstrap Capital

Bootstrap Capital Author Lisa J. Servon
ISBN-10 0815705689
Release 2011-07-01
Pages 155
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The microenterprise strategy—helping people start small businesses—has generated attention among policymakers and the media as a way to create jobs and help lift people out of poverty. Through extensive interviews and case studies of five diverse microenterprise programs in different U.S. regions, Lisa J. Servon examines the potential and limits of these programs. In the late 1980s, the microenterprise strategy came to the United States from less-developed countries such as Bangladesh, where the Grameen Bank flourishes. Since then over 200 programs have opened their doors in nearly every state. This book identifies the current discourse on microenterprises, discusses how this approach represents a departure from traditional economic development and social welfare strategies, and examines the wide range of results. Boot strap Capital tells the story of both the programs and the people who use them. One program, Women's Initiative, targets very low income women in the San Francisco Bay Area and requires all clients to undergo three months of training before they can apply for a loan. Some of the participants are true entrepreneurs; others pursue self-employment because the mainstream economy has failed them. Servon finds that microenterprise programs combat the problem of persistent poverty by serving a broad socioeconomic group and by focusing on the goals of empowerment, economic literacy, and community organization. She shows that microenterprise programs do more to help those who exist at the margins of the mainstream economy than those who are completely cut off from it. She calls for a rethinking of expectations for this strategy, based on the experience of programs and entrepreneurs in this country. This book provides the basis for reframing policy support for these programs.



Fringe Banking

Fringe Banking Author John P. Caskey
ISBN-10 9781610441131
Release 1994-08-24
Pages 184
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"Cogently argued, fills an important gap in the literature, and is accessible to undergraduates." —Choice "Dismantles the mythology surrounding pawnshops and check-cashing outlets, and demonstrates that they are no longer on the fringe of our financial system but integral to it."—San Francisco Bay Guardian In today's world of electronic cash transfers, automated teller machines, and credit cards, the image of the musty, junk-laden pawnshop seems a relic of the past. But it is not. The 1980s witnessed a tremendous boom in pawnbroking. There are now more pawnshops thanever before in U.S. history, and they are found not only in large cities but in towns and suburbs throughout the nation. As John Caskey demonstrates in Fringe Banking, the increased public patronage of both pawnshops and commercial check-cashing outlets signals the growing number of American households now living on a cash-only basis, with no connection to any mainstream credit facilities or banking services. Fringe Banking is the first comprehensive study of pawnshops and check-cashing outlets, profiling their operations, customers, and recent growth from family-owned shops to such successful outlet chains as Cash American and ACE America's Cash Express. It explains why, despite interest rates and fees substantially higher than those of banks, their use has so dramatically increased. According to Caskey, declining family earnings, changing family structures, a growing immigrant population, and lack of household budgeting skills has greatly reduced the demand for bank deposit services among millions of Americans. In addition, banks responded to 1980s regulatory changes by increasing fees on deposit accounts with small balances and closing branches in many poor urban areas. These factors combined to leave many low- and moderate-income families without access to checking privileges, credit services, and bank loans. Pawnshops and check-cashing outlets provide such families with essential financial services thay cannot obtain elsewhere. Caskey notes that fringe banks, particularly check-cashing outlets, are also utilized by families who could participate in the formal banking system, but are willing to pay more for convenience and quick access to cash. Caskey argues that, contrary to their historical reputation as predators milking the poor and desperate, pawnshops and check-cashing outlets play a key financial role for disadvantaged groups. Citing the inconsistent and often unenforced state laws currently governing the industry, Fringe Banking challenges policy makers to design regulations that will allow fringe banks to remain profitable without exploiting the customers who depend on them.



The Financial Diaries

The Financial Diaries Author Jonathan Morduch
ISBN-10 9781400884599
Release 2017-03-27
Pages 248
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What the financial diaries of working-class families reveal about economic stresses, why they happen, and what policies might reduce them Deep within the American Dream lies the belief that hard work and steady saving will ensure a comfortable retirement and a better life for one's children. But in a nation experiencing unprecedented prosperity, even for many families who seem to be doing everything right, this ideal is still out of reach. In The Financial Diaries, Jonathan Morduch and Rachel Schneider draw on the groundbreaking U.S. Financial Diaries, which follow the lives of 235 low- and middle-income families as they navigate through a year. Through the Diaries, Morduch and Schneider challenge popular assumptions about how Americans earn, spend, borrow, and save—and they identify the true causes of distress and inequality for many working Americans. We meet real people, ranging from a casino dealer to a street vendor to a tax preparer, who open up their lives and illustrate a world of financial uncertainty in which even limited financial success requires imaginative—and often costly—coping strategies. Morduch and Schneider detail what families are doing to help themselves and describe new policies and technologies that will improve stability for those who need it most. Combining hard facts with personal stories, The Financial Diaries presents an unparalleled inside look at the economic stresses of today's families and offers powerful, fresh ideas for solving them.



Act of Congress

Act of Congress Author Robert G. Kaiser
ISBN-10 9780307744517
Release 2014
Pages 417
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This is an account of how Congress today really works, and doesn't, that follows the dramatic journey of the sweeping financial reform bill enacted in response to the Great Crash of 2008. The founding fathers expected Congress to be the most important branch of government and gave it the most power. When Congress is broken, as its justifiably dismal approval ratings suggest, so is our democracy. Here, the author, whose career at The Washington Post has made him a keen and knowledgeable observer of Congress, takes us behind the sound bites to expose the protocols, players, and politics of the House and Senate, revealing both the triumphs of the system and (more often) its fundamental flaws. This book tells the story of the Dodd-Frank Act, named for the two men who made it possible: Congressman Barney Frank, brilliant and sometimes abrasive, who mastered the details of financial reform, and Senator Chris Dodd, who worked patiently for months to fulfill his vision of a Senate that could still work on a bipartisan basis. Both Frank and Dodd collaborated with the author throughout their legislative efforts and allowed their staffs to share every step of the drafting and deal making that produced the 1,500-page law that transformed America's financial sector. The author explains how lobbying affects a bill, or fails to. We follow staff members more influential than most senators and congressmen. We see how Congress members protect their own turf, often without regard for what might best serve the country, moreeager to court television cameras than legislate on complicated issues about which many of them remain ignorant. In this book the author shows how ferocious partisanship regularly overwhelms all other considerations, though occasionally individual integrity prevails.



How the Other Half Banks

How the Other Half Banks Author Mehrsa Baradaran
ISBN-10 9780674495449
Release 2015-10-06
Pages 336
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The United States has two separate banking systems—one serving the well-to-do and another exploiting everyone else. Deserted by banks and lacking credit, many people are forced to wander through a Wild West of payday lenders and check-cashing services thanks to the effects of deregulation in the 1970s that continue today, Mehrsa Baradaran shows.



A Capitalism for the People

A Capitalism for the People Author Luigi Zingales
ISBN-10 9780465038701
Release 2014-02-11
Pages 336
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Born in Italy, University of Chicago economist Luigi Zingales witnessed firsthand the consequences of high inflation and unemployment—paired with rampant nepotism and cronyism—on a country's economy. This experience profoundly shaped his professional interests, and in 1988 he arrived in the United States, armed with a political passion and the belief that economists should not merely interpret the world, but should change it for the better. In A Capitalism for the People, Zingales makes a forceful, philosophical, and at times personal argument that the roots of American capitalism are dying, and that the result is a drift toward the more corrupt systems found throughout Europe and much of the rest of the world. American capitalism, according to Zingales, grew in a unique incubator that provided it with a distinct flavor of competitiveness, a meritocratic nature that fostered trust in markets and a faith in mobility. Lately, however, that trust has been eroded by a betrayal of our pro-business elites, whose lobbying has come to dictate the market rather than be subject to it, and this betrayal has taken place with the complicity of our intellectual class. Because of this trend, much of the country is questioning—often with great anger—whether the system that has for so long buoyed their hopes has now betrayed them once and for all. What we are left with is either anti-market pitchfork populism or pro-business technocratic insularity. Neither of these options presents a way to preserve what the author calls “the lighthouse” of American capitalism. Zingales argues that the way forward is pro-market populism, a fostering of truly free and open competition for the good of the people—not for the good of big business. Drawing on the historical record of American populism at the turn of the twentieth century, Zingales illustrates how our current circumstances aren't all that different. People in the middle and at the bottom are getting squeezed, while people at the top are only growing richer. The solutions now, as then, are reforms to economic policy that level the playing field. Reforms that may be anti-business (specifically anti-big business), but are squarely pro-market. The question is whether we can once again muster the courage to confront the powers that be.



The Great Risk Shift

The Great Risk Shift Author Jacob S. Hacker
ISBN-10 9780195335347
Release 2008
Pages 250
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We are witnessing a massive transfer of economic risk from broad structures of insurance onto the fragile balance sheets of American families. This text explains the causes and consequences of 'The Great Risk Shift' and what can be done to reverse it.



The Influence of Affluence

The Influence of Affluence Author Russ Alan Prince
ISBN-10 9780385525299
Release 2008-02-26
Pages 304
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A compelling look at a new class of the affluent - the middle-class millionaires – whose attitudes and values are influencing and reshaping American life In this groundbreaking book, Russ Alan Prince and Lewis Schiff examine the far-reaching impact of the middle class millionaires–people who enjoy a net worth ranging from one million to ten million dollars and have earned rather than inherited their wealth. Comprising 8.4 million households and growing in number, the attitudes and behaviors of these working rich are exerting a powerful influence over our society. So who are these people? They believe in the benefits of hard work. They believe in investing in themselves, and in self improvement. They are more likely to focus on drawing financial gain from their work, and less inclined to be discouraged by failure. And they don’t spend money on the extravagances indulged in by the very rich; instead, they wield their affluence according to middle-class values and ideals. From home security systems to health care, technology to travel, their spending choices are affecting us all – from the products we buy, to the communities in which we live, to the aspirations and values of the broader middle class and American population as a whole. In the bestselling tradition of Bobos in Paradise and The Millionaire Next Door, THE MIDDLE-CLASS MILLIONAIRE is a captivating narrative – part sociology, and part aspirational journey into the lives, attitudes, and values of the middle-class millionaires. Based on extensive surveys and research into more than 3,600 middle-class millionaire households around the country, this book will reshape our understanding of what it takes to be successful – and how all of us can achieve similar success.



Happiness for All

Happiness for All Author Carol Graham
ISBN-10 9781400884971
Release 2017-03-07
Pages 208
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How the optimism gap between rich and poor is creating an increasingly divided society The Declaration of Independence states that all people are endowed with certain unalienable rights, and that among these is the pursuit of happiness. But is happiness available equally to everyone in America today? How about elsewhere in the world? Carol Graham draws on cutting-edge research linking income inequality with well-being to show how the widening prosperity gap has led to rising inequality in people's beliefs, hopes, and aspirations. For the United States and other developed countries, the high costs of being poor are most evident not in material deprivation but rather in stress, insecurity, and lack of hope. The result is an optimism gap between rich and poor that, if left unchecked, could lead to an increasingly divided society. Graham reveals how people who do not believe in their own futures are unlikely to invest in them, and how the consequences can range from job instability and poor education to greater mortality rates, failed marriages, and higher rates of incarceration. She describes how the optimism gap is reflected in the very words people use—the wealthy use words that reflect knowledge acquisition and healthy behaviors, while the words of the poor reflect desperation, short-term outlooks, and patchwork solutions. She also explains why the least optimistic people in America are poor whites, not poor blacks or Hispanics. Happiness for All? highlights the importance of well-being measures in identifying and monitoring trends in life satisfaction and optimism—and misery and despair—and demonstrates how hope and happiness can lead to improved economic outcomes.



Glass House

Glass House Author Brian Alexander
ISBN-10 9781250085818
Release 2017-02-14
Pages 304
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For readers of Hillbilly Elegy and Strangers in Their Own Land **A New York Post Must-Read Book, a Newsweek Best New Book, one of The Week's 20 Books to Read in 2017, one of Bustle's 16 Best Nonfiction Books Coming in February 2017, Best Non-Fiction/2017 Books by the Banks** "A devastating portrait...For anyone wondering why swing-state America voted against the establishment in 2016, Mr. Alexander supplies plenty of answers." —The Wall Street Journal "This book hunts bigger game." —Laura Miller, Slate In 1947, Forbes magazine declared Lancaster, Ohio the epitome of the all-American town. Today it is damaged, discouraged, and fighting for its future. In Glass House, journalist Brian Alexander uses the story of one town to show how seeds sown 35 years ago have sprouted to give us Trumpism, inequality, and an eroding national cohesion. The Anchor Hocking Glass Company, once the world’s largest maker of glass tableware, was the base on which Lancaster’s society was built. As Glass House unfolds, bankruptcy looms. With access to the company and its leaders, and Lancaster’s citizens, Alexander shows how financial engineering took hold in the 1980s, accelerated in the 21st Century, and wrecked the company. We follow CEO Sam Solomon, an African-American leading the nearly all-white town’s biggest private employer, as he tries to rescue the company from the New York private equity firm that hired him. Meanwhile, Alexander goes behind the scenes, entwined with the lives of residents as they wrestle with heroin, politics, high-interest lenders, low wage jobs, technology, and the new demands of American life: people like Brian Gossett, the fourth generation to work at Anchor Hocking; Joe Piccolo, first-time director of the annual music festival who discovers the town relies on him, and it, for salvation; Jason Roach, who police believed may have been Lancaster’s biggest drug dealer; and Eric Brown, a local football hero-turned-cop who comes to realize that he can never arrest Lancaster’s real problems.



The Subprime Virus

The Subprime Virus Author Kathleen C. Engel
ISBN-10 0199780099
Release 2010-11-10
Pages 368
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The subprime crisis shook the American economy to its core. How did it happen? Where was the government? Did anyone see the crisis coming? Will the new financial reforms avoid a repeat performance? In this lively new book, Kathleen C. Engel and Patricia A. McCoy answer these questions as they tell the story behind the subprime crisis. The authors, experts in the law and the economics of financial regulation and consumer lending, offer a sharply reasoned, but accessible account of the actions that produced the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression. The Subprime Virus reveals how consumer abuses in a once obscure corner of the home mortgage market led to the near meltdown of the world's financial system. The authors also delve into the roles of federal banking and securities regulators, who knew of lenders' hazardous mortgages and of Wall Street's addiction to high stakes financing, but did nothing until the crisis erupted. This is the first book to offer a comprehensive description of the government's failure to act and to analyze the financial reform legislation of 2010. Blending expert analysis, vivid examples, and clear prose, Engel and McCoy offer an informed portrait of the political and financial failures that led to the crisis. Equally important, they show how we can draw lessons from the crisis to inform the building of a new, more stable, prosperous, and just financial order.



Financial Inclusion at the Bottom of the Pyramid

Financial Inclusion at the Bottom of the Pyramid Author Carol Realini
ISBN-10 9781460265529
Release 2015
Pages 256
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As incredible as it may seem in this hyper-connected, technologically advanced era, half the planet's population exist as "Financial nomads"-those who nourish and shelter themselves without using traditional banking services. While the wealthy live at the top of a metaphorical pyramid, taking financial security and banking services for granted, there are billions of people who struggle at the pyramid's base in an exhausting state of financial exclusion and insecurity. Times are changing rapidly, but despite global uncertainty, technology has the capacity to reach and equip people in all walks of life. Advances in communications have reconfigured the ease with which we interact with our money-and these advances can provide innovative financial services to the unbanked and underserved around the world. Financial inclusion for all is indeed within our reach, and with this conviction, authors Karl Mehta and Carol Realini propose a vision for a better world and a blueprint to get there....



Bad Paper

Bad Paper Author Jake Halpern
ISBN-10 9780374711245
Release 2014-10-14
Pages 256
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The Federal Trade Commission receives more complaints about rogue debt collecting than about any activity besides identity theft. Dramatically and entertainingly, Bad Paper reveals why. It tells the story of Aaron Siegel, a former banking executive, and Brandon Wilson, a former armed robber, who become partners and go in quest of "paper"—the uncollected debts that are sold off by banks for pennies on the dollar. As Aaron and Brandon learn, the world of consumer debt collection is an unregulated shadowland where operators often make unwarranted threats and even collect debts that are not theirs. Introducing an unforgettable cast of strivers and rogues, Jake Halpern chronicles their lives as they manage high-pressure call centers, hunt for paper in Las Vegas casinos, and meet in parked cars to sell the social security numbers and account information of unsuspecting consumers. He also tracks a "package" of debt that is stolen by unscrupulous collectors, leading to a dramatic showdown with guns in a Buffalo corner store. Along the way, he reveals the human cost of a system that compounds the troubles of hardworking Americans and permits banks to ignore their former customers. The result is a vital exposé that is also a bravura feat of storytelling.



Gender and Planning

Gender and Planning Author Susan S. Fainstein
ISBN-10 0813534992
Release 2005-01-01
Pages 313
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Increasingly, experts recognize that gender has affected urban planning and the design of the spaces where we live and work. Too often, urban and suburban spaces support stereotypically male activities and planning methodologies reflect a male-dominated society. To document and analyze the connection between gender and planning, the editors of this volume have assembled an interdisciplinary collection of influential essays by leading scholars. Contributors point to the ubiquitous single-family home, which prevents women from sharing tasks or pooling services. Similarly, they argue that public transportation routes are usually designed for the (male) worker's commute from home to the central city, and do not help the suburban dweller running errands. In addition to these practical considerations, many contributors offer theoretical perspectives on issues such as planning discourse and the construction of concepts of rationality. While the essays call for an awareness of gender in matters of planning, they do not over-simplify the issue by moving toward a single feminist solution. Contributors realize that not all women gravitate toward communal opportunities, that many women now share the supposedly male commute, and that considerations of race and class need to influence planning as well. Among various recommendations, contributors urge urban planners to provide opportunities that facilitate women's needs, such as childcare on the way to work and jobs that are decentralized so that women can be close to their children. Bringing together the most important writings of the last twenty-five years, this book is essential reading for students and scholars of planning theory as well as anyone concerned with gender and diversity. Susan S. Fainstein is a professor of urban planning at Columbia University. Lisa J. Servon is an associate professor in the Milano Graduate School of Management and Urban Policy at the New School.