Bill Maurer

"For many, it's not a choice: they can't afford a bank account," says Bill Maurer, professor of anthropology and law at University of California, Irvine. "Because they rely on alternative and often predatory financial services, they also get trapped in cycles of debt and poverty." Maurer says recent immigrants and refugees may struggle to open bank accounts due to linguistic, cultural or trust reasons. "If you come from a country where banks routinely fail, you're not going to trust the bank and probably instead will rely on kin networks or traditional, informal savings clubs," he says.

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