Last year produced another record-high number of bank branch closings with 3,601 locations shutting their doors, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data.
The trimming of bank branches has been increasing since the United States began recovering from the Great Recession. The pace accelerated in 2020 with the outbreak of the pandemic as consumers switched en masse to mobile transactions, reducing their in-person visits to deposit checks or withdraw cash.
The growing use of technology only prompted bank holding companies to increase their budgets for new digital technology applications, executives have said in recent earnings conference calls. That spending fueled additional branch consolidation last year.
The closings only tell part of the story, however, according to the Cleveland Federal Reserve in a study completed in October. Consumers also visit bank branches for financial advice, payroll services, loans, lines of credit and other services that are often less comprehensive, less user-friendly or even nonexistent online.
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