Star Tribune: Digital banking at U.S. Bank sped up during pandemic

Star Tribune, July 3, 2021, Digital banking at U.S. Bank sped up during pandemic

The bank’s customers are now where executives expected them to be in five years with digital technology. One result: the company closed more branches than it planned before the pandemic.

In February 2020, U.S. Bancorp executives gathered in Reno, Nev., to discuss the future of banking, including how quickly they expected digital services to evolve.

Then the coronavirus pandemic came along, forcing them and other bankers to curtail branch activities and sparking a new burst in digital banking.

Last year, the advocacy group National Community Reinvestment Coalition raised concerns about this trend after tallying up more than 13,000 closures, or 14% of all branches, between 2008 and 2020. It issued a report that noted that such closures often disproportionately impact rural, low-income, and minority communities where few branches might have existed in the first place.

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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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