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Taking the Bank Bypass

Dropping by the local branch on a regular basis is becoming an errand of a bygone era reports The Fiscal Times

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by Beth Braverman

Well-Being
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Half of Americans haven’t entered a bank branch in the past 30 days, and three in 10 haven’t visited one in at least six months according to a new report from Bankrate.com.

The use of brick-and-mortar banks varies by age group: 58 percent of those under 30 have visited a branch in the last month, compared to 48 percent of those over age 50.

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“The number and location of bank branches, as well as their functionality, will continue to evolve, but clearly they’re not going away,” Bankrate.com chief financial analyst Greg McBride said in a statement.

The rise of online banking has made in-person visits for routine transactions like deposits and account transfers unnecessary. More than 60 percent of those who use the Internet use it for banking and shopping, making such activities as popular as social networking, according to a 2012 report by Pew.

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Last year, there were 96,000 bank branches throughout the United States, down from a high of 99,000 in 2009, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Despite reduction, the banking industry says that bank branches are nowhere near dead, their role is simply evolving. “People will use their mobile devices or computers for many transactions like paying bills or checking balances, but when it comes to opening an account or getting financial advice, they want to do that face to face,” Bank of America ATM and Retail Distribution Executive Rob Aulebach wrote in a recent  American Banker op-ed.

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Photo Credit:

Bank exterior: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg/Getty

Bank interior: Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg/Getty