FORT WORTH, TX – April 23, 2018 – When it comes to getting a loan or credit card from their bank, many Americans are not so confident. A newly released study from Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class (CNMC) found that non-prime Americans – the 2/3rds of US adults with credit scores under 700 – were significantly less likely to depend on a traditional financial institution for access to credit. Compared to individuals with prime credit scores, non-prime Americans are:


  • 4x as likely to have been denied a loan over the last year
  • 8x as likely to not use a bank
  • 6x as likely to use an online-only financial institution
  • 21% less likely to believe their financial institution has products designed for them
  • 48% less likely to believe they would be approved for a personal loan


“Unfortunately, this study indicates what so many Americans experience every day. When faced with a hurdle in their financial journey, the non-prime simply do not have the option of relying on a bank or traditional financial institution as a backstop,” said Jonathan Walker, Executive Director of the CNMC. “Across the board, we see that the non-prime have little confidence a bank can provide for them, yet surprisingly most indicate a bank would still be their first choice for a personal loan.”


The non-prime are often characterized by income volatility, making it all the more necessary they have access to credit. Yet, one in 12 non-prime Americans do not even use a traditional bank for their day-to-day needs. Non-prime Americans often move to an online only bank to meet this void.


“For centuries, we have relied on banks to meet our financial needs – both big and small. Today, many Americans do not have that luxury. With the changing regulatory environment, banks may finally be able to serve this population again, either by partnering with financial technology companies, creating innovative new products, or by finding new means of underwriting their financial products,” said Walker.



About the Research

This study represents results from a survey of 1005 U.S. consumers (595 with

prime and 298 with non-prime credit scores). Interviews were conducted February 2, 2018 through February 5, 2018.


About Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class

Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class conducts research, engages in dialogue, and builds cooperation to generate understanding of the behaviors, attitudes, and challenges of America’s growing “New Middle Class.” For more information, visit:


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