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Associated Press, Published December 02 2009

Dakotas have more access to bank services

BISMARCK, N.D. — The percentage of households in the Dakotas that either lack bank accounts or use payday loans, check-cashing services and other costly alternatives to traditional banks is lower than the national rate.

A survey released Wednesday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. says 25.6 percent of U.S. households have little or no access to basic banking services.

In North Dakota, the percentage is 23.8. In South Dakota it is 21 percent.

The report is part of an FDIC effort to bring the so-called "unbanked" into the financial mainstream. It found that nationally, minority families are among those especially hard-hit.

That also appears to be the case in the Dakotas, where a much higher percentage of minority households lacked access to traditional banking services.

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