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Take on Wall Street: Recent bank failures expose just how undervalued bank workers are

Authored by Nick Weiner, Senior Campaign Lead, Committee for Better Banks, Communications Workers of America. 

How can we improve oversight of our banking system to avoid future crises? Largely forgotten in policy discussions is the potential role of non-management bank workers who live paycheck to paycheck, oftentimes earning $18 to $22 an hour, and take pride in assisting customers directly with their financial needs. 

In addition to keeping banks up and running, most bank workers are also customers of the banks where they work, so they have a vested interest in their financial institution’s long-term stability and soundness. When a bank fails, not only are their jobs at risk, but bank workers could also lose their personal investments. Bank workers will also be the last to participate in a run on their bank since it would threaten their own jobs. Caught in this dilemma, bank workers are hit with a double whammy when a bank fails: both their livelihoods and their savings are at risk.

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