Tuesday, October 16, 2007
When was the last time you visited a brick-and-mortar branch of your bank? Despite the growth of online banking, many banks apparently find that the presence of a bank near home or work remains very appealing to customers (both to those who do not bank online often and to those who, unlike me, have high finance to conduct in person). The result is a proliferation of bank branches in American cities. It has become so prominent that some cities are taking steps to restrict new bank branches by zoning law, on the assumption that banks don’t add much to the “buzz” of a city neighborhood trying to revitalize and keep residents from decamping to the suburbs. Chicago already restricts bank branches from being too close to each other on designated “pedestrian streets.” Washington, D.C., is considering a similar step. Behind this is also a policy of desiring to support the idea of small business owners (flower shops, bakeries, etc.) at the expense of big impersonal banks. If everyone were like me, and visited their bank only once a year, we wouldn’t have this unusual land use policy dilemma …
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