By Kwase Lane
Rural areas of America are overlooked in myriad ways, and gaps in financial services are one of the most pressing. A report from the Congressional Resource Service, a group that provides congress with anticipatory and on-demand research, reveals this issue is a multifaceted one. A combination of what the report calls banking deserts, areas without access to a bank branch, and lack of access to capital markets leaves rural citizens with little access to loans or economic advising. This is somewhat mitigated for farmers by 2018’s farm bill, but rural business owners are still largely left to deal with the issues of their location on their own.
This inability to access capital is also present in Native American communities. Reservations are plagued by both credit inaccessibility and financial illiteracy. The Center for American Progress calls for policy that not only solves the issues stated above but does so in a way that acknowledges climate change. Rural and agricultural finance are integral to the financial system at large and deserve to be treated as such. This CRS report shows that these issues are, at least, being researched so that one day they might be solved.