An average of 200 bank branches closed each month from June 2021 to June 2022.
The reopening of the US economy did not discourage banks from closing physical branch locations at an aggressive pace, new research from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) has found.
“The banking industry is withdrawing from the most vulnerable communities in the country at an astounding clip despite the resumption of normal economic activity in mid-2021,” said Jason Richardson, NCRC’s Director of Research. “After using the initial lockdown phase of the pandemic to double the rate of branch closures, banks maintained that alarming pace in the past year. This aggressive drawdown of in-person service will have negative consequences everywhere – but especially in rural, lower-income and majority-minority communities.”
An average of 200 bank branches closed each month from June 2021 to June 2022, the new report found. That rate mirrors findings from previous NCRC research which showed the banking industry doubled the branch closure rate after the coronavirus pandemic reached US shores in early 2020. The new report also notes that shifts in geographic designations from the US Census Bureau complicates locational analysis of the branch closure wave.
Some 2,457 bank branches closed nationwide in the 2021-22 data. Over the past five years, some 9,882 bank branches have closed nationwide. Millions of Americans live in places where online banking solutions are unreliable for lack of high-quality telecommunications infrastructure. Tens of millions more living in places with easy high-speed internet access nonetheless rely upon personal relationships with local bankers in order to achieve their personal and professional dreams.