Despite the rise of online and mobile banking, there has been only a modest decline in the number of branches in the US over the last few years, according to research from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
As of June 2014 FDIC-insured institutions operated 94,725 banking offices, a decline of just 4.8% from the all-time high of 99,550 in 2009. In fact, over the last few decades the number of US bank branches has generally grown in line with the population, only experiencing dips during the banking crises of the late 1980s and the last few years.
Since 1970, banks have introduced a series of new electronic channels for delivering banking services - ATMs, phone, online and mobile banking. Yet between 1970 and 2014 the total number of banking offices grew nearly twice as fast as the US population, and as of 2014 the density of banking offices per capita was higher than it had been at any point prior to 1977.
However, the emergence of new technologies does appear to have had an impact on the number of transactions taking place at branches. According to one study cited by FDIC, the average number of teller transactions per office declined by 45% between 1992 and 2013, from 11,700 per month to 6,400.
Young people in particular are making fewer visits to branches, with a recent survey finding that 19% of people aged 18 to 29 visited a bank or credit union branch in the previous week, compared with 29% of those ages 30 to 49.
Even so, branches are still valued by Americans, with a 2013 FDIC survey finding that visiting a teller remains the most common way for households to access their accounts, leaving mobile and online trailing.
Says the FDIC: "In terms of technological change, there is little evidence that the emergence of new electronic channels for delivering banking services has substantially diminished the need for traditional branch offices where banking relationships are built."
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