Despite being employed, low-wage workers earning below the Federal Poverty Level frequently find themselves trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty. This represents approximately 150,000 people in Charlotte, according to the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED). A very high percentage of our working poor are unbanked due to the inability to meet minimum financial institution qualifications, prior negative experiences with bank fees and/or distrust of financial institutions.
As a result, many low-wage workers are forced to turn to predatory lenders, check cashing services, tax refund-advances and rent-to-own purchases. A typical borrower pays $800 to borrow $350. The disproportionately high cost of these products lessens the opportunity for upward mobility for low-wage workers. Charlotte ranked 49th
out of 50 major US cities in upward mobility, according to a Harvard study.