We all know these areas have high leasing costs. Even restaurants that may look busy day to day are failing because rent is too high, and many ground floor retail spots remain unoccupied for years, presumably because the rent is too high for anyone to consider it.
But then in contrast to that, we have banks. On Lynn St alone in Rosslyn, there is a PNC Bank and an Eagle Bank. For the most part, I never see anyone step foot inside either of them. I’d estimate that they might have 3-5 walk-in customers a day. Yet they survive, while busy restaurants such as Extra Virgin fail even with a waiting list of customers on weekend evenings. It doesn’t make any sense to me. Does the small trickle of customers going to the bank really justify the cost of keeping a branch open in such an expensive area? Just what are those customers doing that makes so much money for the bank? Are banks so well of, in general, that they can allow branches to operate at a massive loss just to keep their name out on the busy streets?
Is there some other explanation?
Businesses make physical deposits of cash and other stuff. They can use drop off boxes so you might not necessarily see them.
I heard the president of the Washington region of PNC speak last week and he said they will be closing about 200 banks nationwide in the coming years. If that branch is as deserted as you say it is, it is likely already slated for closure.
If branches close, what will bank robbers rob instead?
Banks are tricky because even if they’re not busy, they still need to be accessible.
I get the businesses making deposits thing, that makes sense. But as a regular user my favorite bank was ING Direct (now CapitalOne 360) which had no physical locations AFAIK but it was never a problem, they had such a good online setup that you didn’t need to visit a branch for anything.
Well, if you needed money immediately, online banking isn’t going to help. Referring to cash. I have ING direct and it takes a couple business days for t he money to transfer. plus if you need cash, you need to go to a bank or an ATM.
I get the businesses making deposits thing, that makes sense. But as a regular user my favorite bank was ING Direct (now CapitalOne 360) which had no physical locations AFAIK but it was never a problem, they had such a good online setup that you didn't need to visit a branch for anything.
You’re forgetting one thing: Old people.
It’s more likely that we see fewer branches in the coming years due to lower bank revenues and savings rates by customers. There will also probably be more consolidation among banks during that same period.
I agree with the old people statement. My Mom is always at the bank bugging the tellers about something. She has an ATM card but refuses to use it even though I have showed her how tons of times. She wants to deposit, withdrawal and get her balance from a real live human. She likes the interaction.
Yes, well, some transactions need to be done at the bank.
Example: I have power of attorney for my parents, who live outside of the country. When I get checks endorsed to them (investments, whatever, things that aren’t automatically reinvested), I need to go in and make sure that the bank accepts my POA and my signature (instead of theirs) when depositing the check. I’m not fond of having to deal with things after the check is out of my hands and it’s been rejected.
Certainly the physical banks aren’t as busy as they used to be, but do you really want your bank branch to move to a low rent area, tucked in between a body shop and a warehouse?
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