Americans are entering this holiday season in decent financial shape generally. It doesn’t entirely feel that way, with rising inflation, labor shortages, container-ship bottlenecks and other stresses.
But the landscape is good and even improving in a lot of ways — some obvious, like the continuing economic expansion, and others more subtle. Here are some of the financial and investment markers that are benefitting many or most people.
Giving thanks for bank apps
When was the last time you worried about your bank’s website or other mobile capabilities? Probably not for a long time. If a recent survey of 2,200 people from the American Bankers Association is accurate, 99% of consumers rate their bank’s online or mobile aps as excellent, very good or good. It’s a rare reminder that nearly all Americans can agree on something.
Also, four in five respondents in the survey agreed that innovation and technological advancements in banking have helped to improve access to financial services. And more than half, 54%, said they have used more contactless payment services since the pandemic began. Such services include credit and debit cards as well as phone or mobile apps such as PayPal, Cash App, Venmo and Zelle.
“Consumers enjoy the convenience, speed and security of digital banking, and they are likely to continue using these channels even after the pandemic subsides,” said Robert Morgan, the ABA’s senior vice president of innovation strategy.
Sighing relief for banks’ health, too
Another reason to give financial thanks reflects the health of the banking system. Anyone who questions that can think back to the Great Recession, which was worsened and prolonged by severe stress centered among finance and real estate companies.
Now, despite low interest rates that make lending less profitable, banks are flourishing. In the latest quarterly report released by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., banks earned an aggregate $70.4 billion, the second highest profit total ever. More significant for consumers, nearly 96% of banks are profitable and none failed in the latest quarter.
The FDIC cites only 51 of…