Growing numbers of Americans are being left without access to basic financial services as banks have axed more than 1,000 branches this year, can reveal.

Data from S&P Global Market Intelligence shows a total of 1,144 national and regional banks were closed between January 1 and July 31 across 49 states – and firms are pulling out of some areas at a faster rate than others.

While California had the most closures in absolute terms, New Jersey suffered the greatest losses per capita with a total of 83. It was trailed by Washington D.C. and Connecticut. Vermont was the only state to have not lost a single bank branch.

The latest spate of closures brings the total since 2019 to 10,680. A handful affected small regional banks but nationals including Wells Fargo, Chase and U.S. Bank represented the bulk. 

Although the onslaught on brick-and-mortar branches is ongoing, it may be slowing. In 2022 there were a total of 3,066 – nearly thrice the number to have been culled in seven months this year. Banks had a total of 78,121 active branches across the country as of the end of May, according to S&P.

North and South Dakota were both noticeably impacted, suffering an average of 7.7 and 5.5 bank closures per million people.

Closures in the South were less prominent than in other parts of the country, though Alabama experienced 22 bank closures for its relatively small population of 5 million, as calculated by 2022 U.S. Census data.

PNC was the worst offender this year, having axed a total of 201 bank branches in just seven months. U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo were close behind, having closed 185 and 160 branches respectively.

A spokesman for Wells Fargo told this week that although branches in many regions are closing, a smaller number are opening in a handful of successful markets.

‘While the total number of branches continues to decline, new branches are being opened in high growth neighborhoods of existing markets, allowing us to offer more branch convenience,’ they said in a statement. 

‘We may also open new branches where we combine two older existing branches into one better situated location. Additionally, customers use our wide range of digital capabilities for many of their banking needs and, as a result, more transactions are happening outside the branch,’ they added.

With rampant inflation and the cost-of-living soaring, experts warn that customers may be more likely to want to discuss their finances with their bank in person.   

Branches provide a lifeline for anyone looking to speak to a staff member in person or carry out simple tasks such as cashing a check, making a simple deposit or accessing cash. 

The dwindling number of outlets mean residents have to travel further to get to their nearest bank – which often hits vulnerable and elderly customers the hardest. 

According to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a third of the locations that closed between 2017 and 2021 occurred in areas that were predominately lower-income and majority-minority.

Accelerating closures run a risk of communities becoming so-called ‘banking deserts’ – when they are without access to a bank or credit union within 10 miles – leaving residents increasingly vulnerable to falling prey to high-fee lending options such as payday loans. 

Banks are increasingly turning towards digital services – a development which was sped up hugely by the Covid-19 pandemic…Source – Read More!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

End Times Prophecy Watch is an online ministry focused on sharing the Gospel and end times related news pertaining to end times bible prophecy. Our mission is to keep people informed on the times and season we are living in. We are focused on remaining obedient to our calling!

%d bloggers like this: