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Commercial Observer: Bank Branches, Once Retail Staple, Closing by the Hundreds

Commercial Observer, March 28, 2022, Bank Branches, Once Retail Staple, Closing by the Hundreds

“There’s a surprising lack of information and data on how many branches banks really need right now,” said Jason Richardson, senior director of research at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), which recently released a report digging into bank branch trends and their impact on the financial future of communities. “We’ve seen a precipitous decline since the pandemic started, and I don’t know what a bottom looks like to this.”

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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