City councilors in Meriden, Conn., recently voted to remove a 2007 ban on check-cashing businesses, which it agreed to allow to operate in gas station/convenience stores larger than 1,500 square feet. The decision sparked protest from members of the local chamber of commerce and economic development board, who complained that lifting the ban would promote neither financial literacy nor economic development.
Sean Moore, who presides over both groups, argued that the same consumers who pay fees for check-cashing services are probably paying the same businesses for money orders when there are other options available that cost significantly less. "This is the antithesis of any economic development," he declared. In an editorial piece, Tami Christopher -- who teaches a Middlesex Community College course on financial literacy -- wrote that expanding check cashing "sends the wrong message about the kind of community most responsible, civic-minded, tax-paying families in Meriden work so hard to support and encourage."