The District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities & Banking (DISB) announced on Sept. 11 that it has launched city-wide surveys to study the barriers to banking services for District of Columbia residents and access to capital challenges for small and local businesses.
According to DISB, 32 percent of District residents don’t have bank accounts or have limited access to traditional banking services. These residents frequently use expensive, unnecessary financial services spending on average $800 a year in fees. And almost 50 percent of new small businesses fail within the first year and access to capital is identified as the second most common reason for failure, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
“Our goal is to identify long-term strategies that enhance the financial capabilities of District residents and small businesses,” said Acting Commissioner Stephen C. Taylor. “By taking the survey, residents and businesses have a unique opportunity to shape future policy that affects how, where and when banks and lenders serve our community.”
DISB said it is administering two separate surveys targeted at District residents and small business owners. In one survey, DISB asks District residents about their experiences with opening and maintaining bank accounts. In the other survey, DISB poses questions to small business owners about their experiences in pursuing financial services and credit. The surveys can be completed online at http://disb.dc.gov/banksurvey.
DISB also plans to hold focus groups with residents and small business owners to hear their perspectives on banking services in the District. The following is the schedule for upcoming focus group meetings.
Small Business Access to Capital Focus Groups:
- Thursday, Sept. 17, 6-8 pm, at Industrial Bank (125 45th Street NE, Washington, D.C. 20019)
- Thursday, Sept. 22, 12-2 pm, at BB&T Bank (1909 K Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20006)
Banking Services Focus Groups:
- Wednesday, Sept. 23, 1-3 pm, at District Government Employees Federal Credit Union (Community Room of Reeves Center, 2000 14th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20009)
- Friday, Sept. 25, 4-6 pm, at East River Family Strengthening Collaborative Inc. (3917 Minnesota Avenue NE, Washington, D.C. 20019)
Source: The District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities & Banking
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