Electronic money will be a boon for people who live in crime-ridden areas, a senior regulator said Tuesday.

James D. Kamihachi, senior deputy comptroller for economic and policy analysis, said electronic money and home banking would greatly reduce the risks associated with carrying traditional currency.

"Those in high-crime areas may be able do their banking in the security of their home," Mr. Kamihachi said at a National Economists Club luncheon.

Mr. Kamihachi, who coordinates the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's work on electronic money issues, also said businesses might feel safer locating in distressed areas because they wouldn't have to worry about handling cash.

"New technology affords new opportunities not only to make financial transactions more convenient at lower cost but also to reach individuals who have historically not been served," Mr. Kamihachi said.

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