Date of Award

Fall 2020

Document Type

Dissertation Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)


Public Policy and Administration

Committee Chairperson

Kristen B. Crossney, Ph.D

Committee Member

Mark W. Davis, Ph.D


Several unbanked households rely upon alternative financial services to meet their banking needs. These products and services charge excessive fees that are usually higher than the traditional banking sector and can thus cause increased debt load and create more harm to consumers who are already unbanked, have low-income levels, and may also have poor credit histories. This exploratory study analyzes alternative financial service products, such as cashing checks, payday loans, and pawnshops and the unbanked. The study uses the Chi-Square Test of Association to assess if there is a significant association between alternative financial services such as check cashing, payday lending, and pawnshops compared to the unbanked, as well as between the unbanked and other demographic variables, such as family income, marital status, education, and race. Results indicate a significant association between the unbanked and each variable, and also indicates a low correlation of less than one percent that can be explained by each variable. The implications of this research will facilitate policymakers to understand the unique needs of the unbanked population to be able to provide products, services, programs that allow unbanked households’ entrance into the traditional banking system, and limit the use of alternative financial services. Recommendations for transition in the banking sector involve a holistic and multi-tiered approach and future research opportunities may assist with moving this research from exploratory to explanatory as research in this area continues to evolve. Recommendations include expanding banking products, services, and programs, as well as revising the Community Reinvestment Act.