New York regulators will conduct a study of communities that are lacking banking options and other basic financial services under a measure approved on Thursday by Gov. Kathy Hochul.
The bill seeks to address a long-standing concern in low-income communities that banking options are limited, leading people to use check cashing services or payday loan businesses that often use large fees to process payments. Hochul's office also announced she has signed a bill that is meant to protect consumers by barring the issuing of unsolicited mail-loan checks.
"This legislation is the first step in remedying the lack of safe and accessible banking services that contribute to the inequities in our state's financial system," Gov. Hochul said. "Dangerous mail-loan checks and banking deserts prevent already underserved New Yorkers from safely accessing the services they need to build wealth and pursue economic prosperity. I am proud to sign this legislation into law that will boost consumer protections for New Yorkers and explore ways to bring these much-needed resources to consumers."
The measure studying banking access in New York will lead to the Department of Financial Services to make recommendations for improvements. The new law will provide state officials with an updated number of the households that are in underbanked neighborhoods.
"Far too many communities in New York State lack equitable access to our financial system and banking services," said Assemblywoman Pat Fahy, who sponsored the legislation. "Oftentimes, these include our under-resourced communities and communities of color, while a lack of banking services contributes to financial instability that prevents New Yorkers from building wealth."