Thursday, December 24, 2015

Banks Reject New York City IDs, Leaving ‘Unbanked’ on Sidelines

By Michael Corkery and Jessica Silver-Greenberg, New York Times
December 23, 2015

Nearly a year ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio proclaimed that a new municipal identification card would help thousands of New Yorkers “lead fuller lives, better lives, lives full of respect and recognition.”

More than 670,000 people have obtained the identification cards since the program began in January. One of the program’s goals is to help many of those people obtain bank accounts.

But some of the biggest banks in the city — including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup — will not accept the cards as a primary source of identification, even though their federal regulators and some smaller banks have approved their use.

The banks’ reluctance threatens to leave thousands of undocumented immigrants and others on the margins of the financial system. For now, many are stuck with costly alternatives like check cashing services that take out a big chunk of a worker’s pay. Or they carry wads of cash around, potentially jeopardizing their safety.[...]

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