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On February 18, 2021, Governor Lael Brainard spoke at the at the Institute of International Finance's 2021 IIF U.S. Climate Finance Summit: Financing a Pro Growth Pro Markets Transition to a Sustainable, Low-Carbon Economy. To view her speech on The Role of Financial Institutions in Tackling the Challenges of Climate Change please click the link below.

Released by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

There is more competition than ever in the provision of banking services, and financial technology (fintech) developments have turbocharged this trend. Traditional commercial banks, thrifts and credit unions are vying with fintech firms and other enterprises for customers or are pairing up with these new competitors to widen offerings, improve speed of service and take advantage of new technologies. Some of these nontraditional providers are specializing in one product or service, or are targeting a very narrow customer base. A number of them are obtaining bank charters, while others are seeking alternative charters.

Although many banks have maintained branch operations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, others have cut back significantly, if temporarily, or announced accelerated plans for permanent closures. This has heightened concerns about an ongoing consolidation of branches nationwide, which has reduced their number by 11% from a peak of 92,030 in 2009.1

Branch closures increase the distance people must travel from where they live, shop, work or otherwise prefer to engage in financial transactions. Those affected sometimes have to go without or must drive long distances to access them. Businesses may be forced to close during the workday to make deposits or withdraw cash in distant cities.2 The elderly, people with mobility issues and those without access to transportation may be particularly inconvenienced.

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Take Five is a popular video series featuring St. Louis Fed economist Dr. Bill Emmons. In each video, Emmons provides a quick, concise synopsis of the most recent meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC).