Why Are There So Many Banks?
March 23, 2023
I have spent a fair amount of time in Cambridge’s Harvard Square. I worked there (for three different organizations) over more than forty years. Peter and I both lived near Harvard Square when we were dating and after we were married. We moved away for twenty-five years to bring up our children in (then) better public schools and moved back once they finished college and were on their own.
We went to movies in Harvard Square, we ate out there, we shopped there.
Things are different now. Our wonderful hardware store has closed. The movie theaters have closed. The newsstands, with newspapers from all over the world are gone. There are still bookstores, but even the Harvard Coop devotes most of its first floor to clothing now that Amazon has changed book buying.
And what has replaced most of these institutions? Banks! Everywhere!
Jeremy came to visit this week. When Jeremy visits, there is a lot of walking involved. As we walked through Harvard Square, I saw that yet another bank is opening. We walked a total of ten miles. We probably saw more than thirty banks.
This did not make sense to us who rarely, if ever, go inside our own banks.
As I often do in times of uncertainty, I turned to Google. I learned that a lot of big banks have closed and opened smaller outlets to "better serve their clients," that most of the walk-ins are older folks and there are some banking tasks that must be handled in person.
Still, do we really need a bank on every corner?