If “food desert” is the buzzy phrase of choice for an area where fresh food isn’t readily available, then the corridor of Jersey City known as the Jackson Hill Main Street Special Improvement District could soon be called a “banking desert.” The Capital One branch located in the historic building at 106 Monticello Avenue is slated to shut its doors in October despite extensive efforts by the city to keep it open.
NJPP’s Jon Whiten tells the Independent that while profit margins for operating banks in low-income areas are often slimmer than in other areas, the service those banks provide “is incredibly important economically” to the local residents.
“In many cases, this is the only access a resident has to fair credit. When it’s tougher to get to a bank and obtain that credit, consumers will either turn to less-formal means of credit that come with harsher terms – like payday lenders – or they opt to not pursue credit at all,” he says. “When they take the latter option, the local economy suffers, as that means folks aren’t spending money to fix up their house with a home equity loan, or start a small restaurant with a small business line of credit. And the neighborhood suffers as well when those improvement projects don’t happen because a local resident couldn’t easily access credit.”
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