The Fair Exchange blog monitors the financial services industry and its role in promoting or obstructing economic justice.  We track and evaluate new consumer products, key players, emerging banking technologies, and community impacts. Sign-up to receive periodic highlights of articles, reports, data, and opinions.

How Credit-Card Debt Can Help the Poor -

Amassing credit may help the country’s poor

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The Changing Face of the Marketplace | Gina Harman

How check cashing meets the needs of consumers when banks fail.

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Temp Land. Working in the New Economy

Pro Publica series on temp work in the United States

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U.S. Middle Class ranks 27th in the World

America's middle class is falling further and further behind in comparison to the rest of the world. When it comes to median wealth per adult, America is ranked 27th.

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Not Enough Money to make ends meet? More than likely, your problem is political, not personal

Individual solutions to personal financial issues miss the point.

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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issues white paper on Bank overdrafts

The study found that a consumer’s decision to opt in may have significant ramifications:

--Consumers who opt in end up with more costs: The CFPB study looked at previous heavy overdrafters who declined to opt in when the new federal requirements were implemented in 2010. It found that by opting out these accountholders reduced their overdraft and non-sufficient fund fees, on average, by more than $450 in the second half of 2010.
--Consumers who opt in to overdraft are more likely to end up with involuntary account closures: Negative account balances are a significant contributor to involuntary account closures at many banks and credit unions. The CFPB study found that at some banks in the study involuntary closure rates were more than 2.5 times higher for accounts that had opted in to debit and ATM overdraft coverage.

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300 Million Engines of Growth: A Middle-Out Plan for Jobs, Business, and a Growing Economy. Center for American Progress

This report lays out a wide-ranging plan for economic progress. It is a plan that encompasses investment and reform. It is a plan that proposes doing more of some things but, importantly, it is a plan to do more things well.
The agenda presented here is based on what we know makes an economy grow and prosper and what we know are the keys to good jobs and a good quality of life, including:

* A well-educated, secure, and growing middle class that underpins strong demand, entrepreneurialism, innovation, and productivity
* Greater private and public investments deployed more strategically
* A fair playing field for business and workers, both domestically and internationally
* Leadership in science and technology
* Effective institutions and governance

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Jobs Are NOT the Answer to the Increasing Poverty in the U.S. and the Western World. Tikkun

"Work" and jobs are not the answer to ending poverty. This has been the hardest concept for us to understand. It's the hardest concept to sell to citizens and policy makers. To end poverty and to achieve true economic freedom, we need to break the link between work and income.

When we say we need more jobs, what we really mean is we need is more money to live on.

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Nine Charts Illustrate Student Loan Debt--Mother Jones Magazine

Approximately 38 million Americans are loaded down with student loan debt, which totals nearly $1 trillion.

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The Rise of the Permanent Temp Economy

Over the last three years, the temp industry added more jobs in the United States than any other, according to the American Staffing Association, the trade group representing temp recruitment agencies, outsourcing specialists and the like.

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Education Becomes Class Divide

Gap between low and high income children widens

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prepaid card is a bank account

The Center for American Progress published an editorial in American Banker calling for prepaid debit card regulation as a bank account

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