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<p>BALTIMORE-Banks can use technology to provide services to low-income Americans in a cost-effective manner, Comptroller of the Currency John Hawke told a group of bankers at a community development conference cosponsored by the OCC and the American Bankers Association. “The military refers to technology as a `force multiplier’-a means to maximize resources and shift outcomes,” Hawke said. “It can be that for the banking industry as well in the effort to profitably serve the underbanked.” Hawke told the conference that many people have decided to avoid using banks because it is not cost effective, but there are costs to the consumer associated with not using banks as well. Without using banking services, consumers miss opportunities to build wealth. “It’s the cash tucked away-not safely in a savings account, but in a coffee can or hip pocket, vulnerable to theft or loss-that sets people back in their struggle to get ahead,” he said. He noted that technology is already proving effective in this area through the Electronic Transfer Accounts now being offered by hundreds of financial institutions, which allows recipients of many kinds of Federal payments to access their funds automatically through electronic funds transfers.</p>

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