Bringing the "unbanked" into mainstream banking is good policy only if new account holders are not subject to financial practices that strip funds from these new accounts. Unfortunately, today's mainstream banking environment is fraught with danger for families who do not have a significant cushion of cash at their disposal.

Local, state and federal agencies; civic organizations; and financial institutions are partnering in bringing these families into the mainstream. These stakeholders should ensure that programs promoting mainstream banking do not unintentionally create a supply of customers who are vulnerable to abusive financial practices.

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