Video: Bank Branch Closures During the Pandemic

Online Event Archive Recorded Thursday, March 3, 2022

The pandemic wreaked havoc on local economies and lives, but for banks, it was an opportunity to speed up the disappearance of traditional brick-and-mortar branches and services in cities and towns across the nation.

NCRC’s new report shows that more than 4,000 physical bank branch locations have closed since March 2020. In the 20 months after COVID-19 hit, banks closed about twice as many branches as they had in the 20 months prior.

Hear from NCRC’s research team, and dig into how this is affecting our communities and what can be done to stop it.


Speakers include:

Jad Edlebi, Senior GIS Specialist, NCRC
Bruce Mitchell, Senior Research Analyst, NCRC
Jason Richardson, Director of Research and Evaluation, NCRC

Webinar Links:

Press release


Webinar Slides

Public Integrity story

Branches and Small Business Lending Report

Highlight: Merger Activity Started to Pick Up in the Second Half of 2021

Webinar Chat Log:

00:32:37 Patricia Fink: Interesting that the openings appear in the central park of the country

00:37:39 Phyllis Logan (She,Her): 50-85 years of age may go back to not trusting banks and will keep their $$$$ at home (unsafe)

00:38:42 Sage Logan: Even in cases like that, people tend to use bank safe deposit boxes to hold funds

00:39:12 Bryan Echols-ISTO: Any insights as to why banks were not closing in Chicago?

00:39:50 Sara Miller: Also important to think about small businesses who need to make cash deposits.

00:40:28 DeWayne Wells: There are technology barriers that prevent a lot of low income folks from using online banking for deposits etc.

00:40:46 Hershel Daniels Junior: PNC is consolidating to regional business banking center like they did under the agreement in College Hill in Cincinnati Ohio

00:42:19 Hershel Daniels Junior: Credit Unions have avoided regulatory oversight under the CRA as well as Farmer MAC

00:44:29 Ken: When a bank closes their branch, how are they anticipating to compete for business banking services, primarily mortgage loans, small business lending? Are they announcing that they leaving area or removing the physical structure or banking?

00:46:13 Erin Lopez, DFI (She/ Her): Would it be possible to list that specific link for the interactive map? I’m having a hard time finding it in the document.

00:46:55 Venus R. Lockett: The option to save the chat isn’t available.

00:47:27 Chloe Sabharwal (she/her): We can share the chat when we send out the recording

00:47:46 Venus R. Lockett: That would be great! Thank you.

00:47:55 Hershel Daniels Junior: Thanks @Chloe

00:48:10 Jad Edlebi: Hi Erin, if you search for “Breaking Down Closures During The COVID-19 Pandemic” on the report site, you should see the interactive mapping tool right underneath

00:48:25 phoward: You said that these figures do not include Credit Unions, but do you have a sense as to whether CU closures are greater or less than banks?

00:49:19 Ruth Johnson: In most Detroit neighborhoods, folks go to banks branches for notary services, photocopying, meeting space, etc. Most folks use cash whether from banks, credit unions or check cashing / pay day loan shops.

00:49:21 Venus R. Lockett: Our messaging is creating relationships with your financial institutions and this makes it VERY hard to make that case.

00:49:24 Sara Miller: In many cases you see mergers rather than closures for Credit Unions

00:50:04 Gabriel Reyes: How do you think, if at all, public banking would affect branch closures, if public banking were to pass in NY state and the city?

00:50:22 Luke W. Reynolds – FDIC: https://www.fdic.gov/analysis/household-survey/ –> the FDIC survey just mentioned

00:58:09 Thea (tay-ya) French: An interesting tidbit. When the only bank in a low-income town East Palo Alto closed in 2011, a credit union from a neighboring city moved in to serve the community. https://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2011/08/12/credit-union-banking-on-east-palo-alto https://www.smcu.org/Access/Locations/Branches-ATMs/East-Palo-Alto-Branch

01:02:09 Phyllis Logan (She,Her): Thank you Jason, your level of knowledge is GREATLY appreciated

01:04:54 Chloe Sabharwal (she/her): Don’t forget to rate this session before you go: https://ncrc.wufoo.com/forms/s7fr70l0x2lej0/

01:05:03 Sage Logan: How has the increase of shadow banking affected the level of closures related to banks? (Square/Cash App, Apple w apple card, Paypal/Venmo)

01:06:24 Chloe Sabharwal (she/her): https://ncrc.wufoo.com/forms/s7fr70l0x2lej0/

01:06:28 Jacqueline Banks, The Fair Housing Center: Thank you for the information shared today!

01:06:30 Patricia Fink: Thank you so much for this very important information. Great session.

01:06:54 Thea (tay-ya) French: This was a good talk with really good info, as well as Q&A. Thank you.

01:07:28 Hershel Daniels Junior: Will NCRC support the creation of a community financial centers that will include business lending and more with the Banks who sign in on our CBA’s as a local Public Private Partnership?

01:07:29 DeWayne Wells: This was great….thanks all.

01:07:41 Maria Moreno-Reyes: Agree, something new I did not know or even thought of Thank you!

01:07:48 Kevin Donaldson: Heard the comment about combining with post offices, have you heard anything similar with libraries?

01:07:49 Jason Richardson: jrichardson@ncrc.org

01:07:52 Venus R. Lockett: This was a great session and very informative for the work that we do for banking access. Thank you.

01:08:01 JD Franco: Great job team!

01:08:10 Latoya Gray: Thank you so much for this webinar!!


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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

Complete the form to download the full report: