The 26 percent of mostly low-income Americans who don't have bank accounts—as well as the wealthy—are only marginally affected by tighter credit from more stringent banking regulations, Whitney said.
But those in the middle class who have relied on access to credit will suffer as banks that "can't price risk now" become increasingly afraid to make loans.
"We have to reckon with the fact that a very large portion of the US consumer base—which is really middle-class consumers—that were extended credit for the first time in huge swaths are being debanked from the system, so they're delevering," Whitney said, referring to the trend of consumers to save more while paying down debt.
"It's that middle group that is actually getting squeezed and pushed down in terms of demographics," she added. "That is going to put a lot of pressure on the US economy."
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