Black and Latino Americans Pay Twice as Much in Bank Fees, Per Survey
Latinos are paying $14 a month on average while Blacks are paying about $12 a month, compared to $5 per month for white Americans.
According to a new Bankrate survey conducted by YouGov, Latinos and Black Americans pay more than twice the amount in banking fees that white Americans do. When asked about fees such as ATM, overdraft, and routine service charges, Latino respondents said they paid $14 per month on average for checking accounts at banks or credit unions, while Black respondents said they paid $12 a month. The average for other respondents was $5 per month.
The survey polled 2,743 adults in December, and among them, 2,339 were checking account holders. Seventy-nine percent of white respondents said that they paid no fees, in comparison to 56 percent of Blacks and 50 percent of Latinos who said they had no monthly fees.
Another survey that corroborated this financial inequality is the Federal Reserve's 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances, which last year showed that the median wealth for a white family was $188,200, compared to $24,100 for Black families and $36,100 for Latino families.
The additional banking fees "just make the problem worse and take a deeper toll on Black and brown and minority families throughout the country," John Holdsclaw IV, board chair of the Coalition of Community Development Financial Institutions, told NBC News.
He believes that in many situations, higher bank fees may be geographically focused in areas with higher Black, brown, and moderate-income communities.
"It just creates a perfect storm," Holdsclaw said. "The perfect storm is on the backs of these minorities' communities and minority families who have their accounts at these financial institutions."
The Bankrate survey also showed that Americans whose income was impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic also reported paying more in fees than those who weren't financially hit by the crisis. Those who had a setback had a monthly average of $11 in fees, compared to less than $3 a month for those not impacted by it.
"There has been very much an exacerbation of wealth and income inequality during this time," said Bankrate senior economic analyst Mark Hamrick. "More than any other downturn that we are aware of in our history, this has really been a reflection of a have and have-not economy."