The USA Patriot Act : an empirical assessment of the impact of section 326 on access to banking amongst immigrants in the United States
Ugale, Gavin M.
Thesis (M.P.P.)--Georgetown University, 2009.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. This study explores the determinants of transaction account ownership amongst immigrants in the United States with a focus on policies that both promote and restrict their access to financial services. A major piece of legislation that has garnered criticism for its restrictive effects is Title III of the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (the USA Patriot Act), in particular Section 326 governing customer identification regulations. This study considers the likelihood that immigrants are unbanked before and after the Patriot Act, and whether the Act limits their access to banking. In addition, the research recognizes the influence of various government policies and bank initiatives that aim to encourage financial inclusion of immigrants. The results suggest that immigrants in general are more likely to own a transaction account after the Patriot Act than before. Thus, the net result of policies that are intended to promote and those that are said to restrict access to banking points more to financial inclusion as opposed to exclusion. Finally, the probability of immigrants being unbanked varies according to various characteristics, such as country of origin, length of stay in the United States, place of residence and so forth, suggesting that outreach initiatives should be customized by community.
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