Closest Check Cashing Place

Closest Check Cashing Place – RiteCheck, which has 13 locations in the Bronx and Harlem, may be forced to close some of its sites due to proposed state regulations.

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Closest Check Cashing Place

For many Bronx residents, a check cashing shop is a lifesaver — the shop is a way they pay their bills as well as access money to support their families in their home country.

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However, regulations proposed by New York State’s Department of Financial Services (DFS) would lower fees charged by check-cashing agencies that could cause many people to close, leaving thousands of Bronxites without a place to bank.

If adopted in its current form, it would reduce the maximum check cashing fee for government-issued checks from the current rate of 2.27% to 1.5%. This includes checks for social security, unemployment, emergency assistance and veterans benefits. For all other checks, the maximum cashing fee will decrease from 2.27% to 2.2%. The public comment period for this proposed regulation ends on September 15. If the proposal is adopted, it will take effect on January 1, 2023, otherwise the department is required to adopt the regulations by June 15, 2023, or resubmit and start the process again, according to a DFS spokesperson.

This proposed regulation follows emergency regulations announced in February, which issued a stop to the annual increase and maintains the current maximum check cashing fee of 2.27% while a new fee methodology is being developed. Starting in January 2023 and every five years thereafter, industry can request an increase in the maximum set fee.

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“As our world evolves, so must our approach to regulation,” DFS Superintendent Adrienne Harris said in a statement. “DFS conducted a data-driven review of current check cashing and maximum fee methodologies to understand the cost’s impact on the industry and New York residents, particularly members of immigrant communities and people of color, who depend on check cashiers as a matter of urgency. services to meet their financial service needs. We continually strive to promote access to affordable and secure financial products for all, while ensuring the safety and health of institutions.”

In 2021, the NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) announced a research summary, which revealed the latest number of unbanked households in NYC, detailed demographic information and highlighted systemic barriers to banking access. This shows that about 301,700 NYC households — or about 3.6% of them — are unbanked, which is slightly lower than in previous years, but still significantly higher than the national average of 5.4%. The findings include that 17.7% of Bronx households do not have a bank account, which is almost twice as high as the rest of the city.

In the Bronx, seven banks closed 17 branches from 2018 to 2021—more than half in 2020—reducing the total number of full-service branches to just 131, down from 144 in June 2018, according to The Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development. And more than 100 branches closed in 2020 in New York City, up from 74 closings in 2019 and 53 in 2018.

Without full-service institutions, Bronxites in need of a bank rely on check cashiers, pawnshops, or branches of the nation’s largest banks which typically charge high monthly maintenance fees for customers without direct deposit or a certain minimum balance, several credit unions and Bronx residents tell Bronx Times.

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One check cashing business that could be hit hard if the proposed regulations are passed is RiteCheck, which has 13 locations in the Bronx and Harlem. Doris Rosario, who has been a RiteCheck customer at 715 E. 138th

Rosario told the Bronx Times that the state should not understand how important its check cashing facility is. Having a place like RiteCheck is especially important for residents because many don’t have bank accounts, says Rosario. He added that the closest bank to him was on 149th Street, so it would be a challenge for seniors or those with mobility issues to get there if RiteCheck were forced to close.

“The immigrants who come there (RiteCheck), they work,” he said. “This is where they go to cash their checks. This is really annoying. I’ll keep it 100. They want to shut these people down and I think that’s wrong. I don’t think only of myself. I was thinking of someone else.”

Sheila Martinez, assistant human resources for RiteCheck, said DFS was not aware of the impact this proposed regulation would have on check cashing residents and employees. People will lose their jobs, and many will need to find alternatives to banks, Martinez said.

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Martinez said he and his colleagues were surprised the state would want to lower costs rather than raise them, which would help businesses. He said RiteCheck was doing everything it could legally do to fight the proposed regulations.

Lisa Sorin, president of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, also opposed the proposed regulations because they “could have unintended consequences.”

“You are harming the existing business,” said Sorin. “I believe they (DFS) are doing this in good faith, but they are not the ones who need the services.”

Contact Jason Cohen at [email protected] or (646) 899-8058. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes

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Jason Cohen is a contributing reporter for the Bronx Times. Originally from New Jersey, he moved to the Bronx five years ago. Jason has been a reporter for about 14 years and loves what he does. In particular, she enjoys covering meetings, events, writing features and informing the public about news. He also has a passion for sports and anything that involves controversy, and his other interests include watching movies and going to the beach. When he’s not reporting or writing, Jason spends his weekends working at a bagel shop. And, yes, he’s a Mets fan too. So, “Sorry Bronxites.”

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