A surprisingly large percentage of American consumers do not have a savings or checking account with an insured depository institution. Many rely on check-cashing services, payday lenders, or other Alternative Financial Services (AFS). This figure currently represents 28.3 percent of US households or 68 million people. This has created an immense opportunity to serve the underserved, but consideration of associated risks is critical to success.
Traditional and non-traditional financial services firms stand to generate incremental returns by leveraging existing risk management competencies while launching new products or markets. Private equity investors can maximize their chances of success by targeting companies with well-established product offerings, flexible operating platforms, and robust risk management functions. The expanding population of under-served consumers needs financial solutions; diligent providers can benefit by serving them.