KB Exchange Trust: Banks Accelerate Closure of In-Store Branches

KB Exchange Trust, April 12, 2022, Banks Accelerate Closure of In-Store Branches

According to a report from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), 9 percent of all bank branch locations in the US closed between 2017 and 2021, a loss of about 7,500 brick-and-mortar locations.

The pace of branch closings doubled during the pandemic, the report said, from 99 per month to 201 closings per month. Banks have closed more than 4,000 branches since March 2020.

According to the NCRC report, the closing of bank branches has disproportionately impacted low-income communities, undercutting the Community Reinvestment Act. The CRA, a federal mandate enacted in 1977, obligates banks to serve the communities in which they operate.

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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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