(StraightNews.org) – Banks in America are closing at an alarming rate, according to data from the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. PNC Bank closed the highest number of branches between November 12 and 18, with 19 shutting their doors. Five closed in Pennsylvania, four in Illinois, three in Texas, two in New Jersey, two in Alabama, and one in Idaho, Ohio, and Florida.
JPMorgan Chase shut 18 across 11 states, including New York, Illinois, Florida, and Massachusetts. In third place was Citizens Bank, which closed eight branches – six in New York and one each in Massachusetts and Delaware.
In total, banks shut down 64 branches across America through that period, including some operated by Bank of America, Citibank, and Sterling. Experts say it signals an escalation, and continuation, of a trend that has been ongoing for several years and accelerated during the Covid pandemic.
According to experts, the widespread branch closure started around 2010, with data showing that 2009 was the last year new branches opened. That year, there were 100,000 branches across the US, but by 2023, there were fewer than 80,000.
There are several reasons, with Internet banking leading the way. As customers prefer the convenience and ease of conducting their financial transactions on their computer or phone, banks are investing more in improving those services and closing branches to cut costs and in recognition of decreasing demand.
The trend is not limited to the United States; the pattern is repeated in almost all developed nations. In the United Kingdom, for example, between 2008 and 2020, more than 13,000 branches closed their doors for good. In December 2023, nineteen are expected to shut.
British consumers are turning toward online services like Americans, and all major banks are affected. This December alone, Barclays will close eleven outlets, Bank of Scotland will close three, with Lloyds, Virgin Bank, NatWest, and Halifax each closing one. Post Offices have taken on many banking services.
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