Question of The Day: How Many Bank Branches Are There in the U.S.?

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Nov 18, 2014
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Question of the Day, Savings, Checking Accounts, Current Events

Good way to kick-off a session about banking and can spice it up even more with  a question “Will bank branches go the way of buggy whips in this mobile age?”

From the Wall Street Journal:

The number of U.S. bank branches has fallen to the lowest level since 2005, as banks ramp up online services and work to cut costs, federal data released Monday show.  The branch drop was the fifth in a row and the biggest one-year decline recorded in at least two decades by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.  The number of branches in the U.S. dropped to 94,725 as of June 30, down 1,614, or 1.7%, from a year earlier and down 4,825 from the peak in 2009, according to the FDIC data.

Additional resources:

A few questions that you can ask:

  • Have you ever been inside a bank branch (not at an ATM but inside an actual branch)?  What was the purpose of your visit?

  • With roughly 300 million people in the US, that works out to about 1 branch for every 3,000 people.  Ask students to compare this average with the town they live in.  Are you under/over banked?  For example, a town of 12,000 would be expected to have about 4 branches.
  • Why are the number of bank branches declining?  Do you think this trend will continue?  Why or why not?

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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