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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