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Trying to Correct Banking’s Racial Imbalance

All the founders emphasize that while they focus on low-to-moderate-income households, they are for-profit companies that can succeed as they scale.

MoCaFi, for example, which offers Mastercard debit cards, relies on the fees merchants pay credit-card processors for revenue. MoCaFi recently announced that it would expand significantly this summer by offering free deposit accounts at 55,000 A.T.M.s in five countries, 40,000 of which will be in the United States, in stores like CVS and Rite Aid, Mr. Coaxum said.At those A.T.M.s, customers can deposit checks or cash into their accounts and, as a result, avoid checking-cashing businesses.

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For companies like Oportun and Aura that focus on lending, the revenue source is from the interest rates on loans that often hover around 36 percent (when including origination fees, the annual percentage rate, or APR, can exceed 50 percent). While that seems high when compared to bank loans or even credit-card financing, it is far lower than the effective rates for small payday loans — those that offer money to be repaid with the next paycheck — which can exceed 400 percent.

Mr. Vazquez said that the higher rates applied to first-time loans fr

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