Americans are hoarding even more money in their checking accounts—why that could be a problem

How much money is in your checking account?

New research suggests checking account customers are doing something that indicates they don’t feel as secure as they would like about the economy. They’re not feeling as safe as some economists would have expected and one red flag is the amount of money people are storing in their checking accounts. Here’s why it matters — and what it might say about you:

Moebs Services, an economic-research firm in Lake Bluff, Ill., analyzed over 12,000 depository call reports and compared them to the Federal Reserve monetary data for 2017. The Moebs Checking Study shows credit union checking account balances reaching an all-time historic high. Across banks, thrifts and credit unions, the average consumer checking balance has increased in 24 of the past 30 quarters.

‘The true significance of the consumer maintaining the highest checking account balance in the history of the United States is economic uncertainty still prevails.’

—Michael Moebs, economist and chief executive of Moebs Services

Consumers maintained a historically high average checking account balance for year-end June 30, 2018 at $3,673 for all financial institutions, Moebs said Wednesday. Banking consumers reduced checking balances by 1.8% while members at credit unions increased those balances by 3%, and customers at savings and loans associations increased their checking account balances by 20.7%.

Americans are warehousing more checking dollars because they are still are very leery of the economy, said Michael Moebs, economist and chief executive of Moebs Services. “The true significance of the consumer maintaining the highest checking account balance in the history of the United States is economic uncertainty still prevails.”

The recent stock market volatility is unlikely to help. On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -3.15%  plunged 831.83 points, or 3.2%, to 25,598.74; the S&P 500 SPX, -3.29%

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