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ABA Unveils New Consumer Polling Data on Major Banking Policy Issues

National survey finds strong majorities believe Congress should allow cannabis banking, find overdraft protection valuable, and think fintechs and credit unions should be held to same standards as banks

WASHINGTON —

U.S. consumers support cannabis banking, value overdraft protection and believe financial technology companies and credit unions should be held to the same standards as banks, according to a new survey conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the American Bankers Association. A strong majority of U.S. adults (66%) support Congress passing legislation that allows cannabis businesses to access banking services such as checking accounts and business loans in states where cannabis is legal, while only 16% oppose. 

“Americans firmly believe that now is the time to resolve the ongoing conflict between state and federal law to allow banks to serve legal cannabis and cannabis-related businesses,” said ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols. “We urge Congress to pass the SAFE Banking Act this year to enhance public safety in the 38 states where cannabis is legal in some form.” 

The survey also shows a strong majority of Americans appreciate and value bank overdraft programs. For the third year in a row, 9 in 10 consumers (89%) find their bank’s overdraft protection valuable, and 8 in 10 consumers (82%) who have paid an overdraft fee in the past year were glad their bank covered their overdraft payment, rather than returning or declining payment. Sixty-four percent of consumers think it’s reasonable for banks to charge a fee for an overdraft, and three-quarters (76%) view overdraft fees as reasonable when large payments like mortgages or rent payments are covered and paid on time. 

“Consumers continue to tell us that they like overdraft protection and that they believe banks offer it at a reasonable cost,” said Nichols. “For those who prefer not to have overdraft protection, banks across the country continue to offer those options, such as simple and easy-to-use Bank On-certified accounts featuring low costs and no overdraft fees.”

The survey also provides important perspective on how consumers view banks compared with financial technology (fintech) companies.  The data show that, if given a choice, 72% of consumers would prefer that banks deliver their banking services in the future rather than the federal government (e.g., postal service, Federal Reserve, etc. – 5%) or non-bank, non-government entities such as fintechs and crypto firms (6%). Most adults care if the business that handles their finances is regulated like a bank (73%), and the vast majority (86%) agrees that any business providing bank-like services to consumers should have to comply with the same rules and regulations that banks do.

“While fintech companies may offer many worthwhile innovations, it’s clear that most Americans still prefer to have a regulated bank handle their financial affairs,” said Nichols. “Consumers also want any company that offers financial services to be held to the same rigorous standards as banks in order to ensure their money and data are secure.”

Similarly, the survey also found that consumers believe credit unions should also be held to the same standards as the banks they compete with for customers every day. Only 14% of Americans are aware that credit unions do not pay federal taxes. In addition, more than twice as many consumers believe credit unions should pay federal taxes just like banks compared to those who feel they should not (48% vs. 18%, respectively). A majority of consumers also believe that credit unions should be subject to community reinvestment reporting requirements that quantify their impact on all segments of their communities, including low- and moderate-income areas, just like banks (54% in support vs. 15% in opposition, respectively).

ABA released an accompanying infographic highlighting the survey results. The data released today is the latest in a series of results gauging U.S. consumers’ preferences and opinions regarding banks and their services. ABA recently released additional survey data revealing that Americans are highly satisfied with their bank and variety of options, value credit card rewards and trust banks most to protect them from fraud and scams. The full results for today’s survey questions are as follows:

When asked “Do you support or oppose allowing cannabis businesses to access traditional banking services, like a checking account or business loan, in states where cannabis is now legal?” consumer provided the following answers: 

  • Strongly support – 37% 
  • Somewhat support – 29% 
  • Somewhat oppose – 6% 
  • Strongly oppose – 9% 
  • Don’t Know/No Opinion – 19% 

When asked “Do you support or oppose Congress passing legislation that allows cannabis businesses to have access to banking services and financial products (like checking accounts and business loans) in states where cannabis is legal?” consumers provided the following responses:

  • Strongly support – 37% 
  • Somewhat support –29% 
  • Somewhat oppose – 8% 
  • Strongly oppose – 8% 
  • Don’t know/no opinion – 19%

When asked “How valuable do you find the overdraft protection offered by your bank?” consumers provided the following responses:

  • Very valuable – 48%
  • Somewhat valuable – 41%
  • Not too valuable – 6%
  • Not valuable at all – 3%
  • Don’t know/no opinion – 2%

When asked “Regarding the bank covering your overdraft payment, were you glad the payment was covered, or would you have preferred the bank return or decline the payment?” consumers who have paid an overdraft fee in the past year provided the following answers:

  • Glad the payment was covered – 82%
  • Would have preferred the bank returned or declined the payment – 17%
  • Don’t know/no opinion – 1%

When asked “How reasonable is it, in your opinion, for banks to charge fees for overdrafts?” consumers provided the following answers:

  • Very reasonable – 21%
  • Somewhat reasonable – 43%
  • Somewhat unreasonable – 16%
  • Very unreasonable – 12%
  • Don’t know/no opinion – 8%

When asked “Knowing each of the following, how reasonable is it, in your opinion, for banks to charge fees for overdrafts? Overdraft protection from banks ensures customers’ large payments such as mortgages or rent payments are covered and paid on time in the event these payments overdraft a customer’s account” consumers provided the following answers:

  • Very reasonable – 36%
  • Somewhat reasonable – 40%
  • Somewhat unreasonable – 8%
  • Very unreasonable – 4%
  • Don’t know/no opinion – 12%

When asked “Knowing each of the following, how reasonable is it, in your opinion, for banks to charge fees for overdrafts? Overdraft protection from banks protects customers from late or other penalty fees if payments overdraft a customer’s account” consumers provided the following answers:

  • Very reasonable – 33%
  • Somewhat reasonable – 42%
  • Somewhat unreasonable – 9%
  • Very unreasonable – 4%
  • Don’t know/no opinion – 12%

When asked “In your opinion, if you had a choice, which of the following would you prefer deliver your banking services in the future?” consumers provided the following answers:

  • Banks – 72% 
  • Federal Government (i.e. Postal Service, Federal Reserve, etc.) – 5% 
  • Neither banks nor the federal government (I.e. fintechs, crypto firms, tech companies, etc.) – 6% 
  • Don’t Know/No Opinion – 17%

When asked “Which of the following comes closest to your view, even if none is exactly right?” consumers provided the following answers: 

  • I want my banking services to be through a traditional financial company such as a bank – 61% 
  • I want my banking services to be through a technology company with a financial services division – 15% 
  • I don't care which type of company I receive my banking services from – 11% 
  • Don’t Know/No Opinion – 13%  

When asked “Which of the following comes closest to your view, even if neither is exactly right?” consumers provided the following answers: 

  • I care if the business that handles my finances is regulated like a bank – 73% 
  • I don’t care if the business that handles my finances is regulated like a bank – 9% 
  • Don’t Know/No Opinion – 18% 

When asked “Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Any business providing bank-like services (i.e. checking and savings accounts, loans, etc.) to consumers should have to comply with the same rules and regulations that banks do.” consumers provided the following answers:

  • Strongly agree – 60%
  • Somewhat agree – 26%
  • Somewhat disagree – 4%
  • Strongly disagree – 1%
  • Don't know – 9%

When asked “To the best of your knowledge, which of the following best describes how credit unions pay federal taxes?” consumers provided the following answers:

  • Credit unions do not pay federal taxes– 14% 
  • Credit unions pay federal taxes– 26% 
  • Don’t Know/No Opinion – 60% 

When asked “Knowing what you know about the similarities between credit unions and banks, which of the following comes closest to your view, even if neither is exactly right?” consumers provided the following answers: 

  • Credit unions should pay federal taxes just like banks – 48% 
  • Credit unions should not pay federal taxes just like banks– 18% 
  • Don’t Know/No Opinion – 34%  

When asked “Knowing what you know about the similarities between credit unions and banks, which of the following comes closest to your view, even if neither is exactly right?” consumers provided the following answers: 

  • Credit unions should be subject to community reinvestment reporting requirements that quantify their impact on all segments of their communities, including low- and moderate-income areas, just like banks. – 54% 
  • Credit unions should not be subject to community reinvestment reporting requirements that quantify their impact on all segments of their communities, including low- and moderate-income areas, just like banks. – 13% 
  • Don’t Know/No Opinion – 31%

About the Survey

This poll was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the American Bankers Association from September 16-17, 2022, among a national sample of 2,211 adults. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

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About the American Bankers Association

The American Bankers Association is the voice of the nation’s $23.4 trillion banking industry, which is composed of small, regional and large banks that together employ approximately 2.1 million people, safeguard $18.6 trillion in deposits and extend $12.3 trillion in loans.

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