About 44,000 households in the Sacramento region didn't have a bank account in 2011, most instead relying on check cashers and payday lenders, according to the latest data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Those without a bank account often have low income and lack the minimum balance to start one. They are more vulnerable to theft and to high-interest charges from those who process their checks.
Nationwide, roughly 10 million households lack a bank account.
About 75 percent of the region's "unbanked" are under age 35. Roughly two-thirds are single mothers. Latinos are almost three times as likely to be unbanked as whites.
Nearly half of local households without a bank account earn less than $15,000 a year.
A state initiative called Bank on California began in December 2008 to help the unbanked, and has opened 250,000 starter bank accounts.
From 2009 to 2011, the proportion of unbanked households in Sacramento fell from 6.6 percent to 5.4 percent. About 8.2 percent of households nationwide are unbanked.
Another 140,000 households, or 17 percent of households in the region, have a checking account but no savings account, according to the FDIC. Even more households use a bank but still also use payday lenders or check cashing outfits to make ends meet, the FDIC says.
Call The Bee's Phillip Reese, (916) 321-1137.