A recent study by fintech brand, Self Financial has found that current trend suggest that all bank branches could be closed by 2034. Bank branches in the US have fallen by 6.52% since 2012, with the rate of closures doubling every three years.
In light of banks being closed due to Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns, Self Financial used government data and insights to show the states where banks have been closing the fastest. The study also surveyed 1,114 US residents on the state and future of banking, and their attitudes towards banking in a branch.
Eric Taylor, director of UX research at Varo, said: “When the US economy opens up again and starts to rebuild after the Covid-19 pandemic, traditional banks will be facing steep losses from bad loans, sketchy investments, and decreased deal flow. Income will be reduced across most of their business lines. The economic situation will be dire, and consumers will be hurting. In extremis, some small and mid-sized banks will fail, while others, especially the larger, more well-connected ones, will receive taxpayer-funded bailouts.
“Banks will have to cut their operating costs, and the deeper the crisis, the more operating costs they will have to cut. Closing physical bank branches will be an obvious way to improve their balance sheets, so I expect that’s what they’ll do.”
The study also found that 1 out of every 15 bank branches that were open in 2012 is now shut, with Maryland seeing the highest closure rate of any state at 12.52% and Florida seeing the most closures (529) of any state since 2012.
46% of Americans believe that the current way we bank needs to change, with access to cash (53.7%) and in-person advice (50.4%) being the two most popular reasons for Americans to stick to using physical banks found in the survey. More than half (55.2%) of Americans believe online banks will soon outnumber traditional physical banks
James Garvey, CEO and Founder of Self Financial said: “Everyone should have access to financial products that are both affordable and accessible, and the collaboration between traditional banks and innovation in fintech will make this possible.”
A spokesperson from N26 said: “There’s no doubt that the Coronavirus outbreak caught the world off guard, and stay-at-home and social distancing measures fundamentally changed the way we interact with our communities and our finances. For the past few years, user behaviour (particularly among Millennials and Gen-Z) was already shifting more and more towards phones and mobile devices.”
“However, the pandemic forced adoption of mobile technologies on a much larger scale to people of all ages as people had to find ways to work, learn and bank entirely online. People want their mobile banking experience to be simpler, more intuitive, and personalised”