Disappearing banks

Date posted: February 21, 2014

Host Mary Walden fondly remembers opening her first bank account. She asks about the issue of disappearing banks – why are there fewer banks today? Her husband, N.C. State University economist Mike Walden, says there are reasons why there are fewer brick-and-mortar banks today.

Mike Walden says “Well, you’re right Mary, and a number of what we call brick-and-mortar banks is plunging. Last year, nationwide, fifteen hundred branch bank locations, i.e. brick-and-mortar banks were shut down, and over a hundred of these were cut in North Carolina. In fact we were among the tops in the nation.

“Now for reasons why, obviously top of list, and I think everyone would get this, is information technology. More people are banking online, especially younger people who grown up with the computer and of course banking online has a big advantage as you can do it anytime you want. You don’t have to drive to a bank, you don’t have to wait, etc. etc.

“And banks like online banking because they save labor costs. They don’t have to have the tellers, so some view this is the disappearance of an era that then brings up some nostalgic feelings, maybe, like you have. But I think this is a trend that likely will continue.”

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