Bankrate.com conducted a survey asking participants: “When was the last time you visited a bank branch or credit union branch to conduct personal financial business?”.
The results were not as informative as I initially hoped. Every monthly report, Bankrate asks one ‘oddball’ question as I learned by going through February’s financial security charts report. This was March’s oddball question. Thus, I couldn’t find a chart of this question’s answers over time.
Here are the interpretations from the data that Bankrate made. I will attempt to justify the causation for these results in the data.
Younger people were less likely to visit their banks or credit unions. Only 19 percent of respondents between 18 and 29 years old said they visited within the last week, compared with 29 percent for those between 30 and 49 years old. – Bankrate
Younger people aren’t going to the bank for two reasons. (1) We have better things to do than visit the bank (2) We can all deposit our checks and view account info through an ATM, mobile app, or on the bank’s website. This has definitely been my experience. In fact, if I recall correctly, even when I had a specific question and wanted to talk to someone, I used the online chat service to speak with a teller or just made a phone call.
More education meant more trips to the bank. Thirty-five percent of respondents with at least some college experience said they visited the bank within the last week, compared with 21 percent who had a high school education or less. – Bankrate
More education lines up with more income. If somebody has a lot of funds to shuffle around, of course they’ll be heading over to their bank’s branch. For large transfers, I suspect people find more comforting sitting down talking with someone at the bank versus just performing the transfer online.
Smaller incomes meant fewer trips to the bank. Among respondents who earn less than $30,000 a year, 29 percent said the last time they visited a bank was more than 12 months ago. That’s nearly twice as much as respondents who made $75,000 or more per year. -Bankrate
Lastly, smaller income means fewer funds to shuffle around. With 34 million Americans “un(der)banked” (2011 numbers), the WSJ claims that these people are further hurt by their reliance expensive check-cashing services.
Overall its nice to see that 1/3 of Americans haven’t had to go through the trouble of visiting a bank in 6 months. I know I can’t speak for everyone, but visiting a bank is more like an errand or chore than it is an enjoyable event. As Bankrate.com’s chief financial analyst Greg McBride said “The number and location of bank branches, as well as their functionality, will continue to evolve, but clearly they’re not going away”. Though, evolving has meant that some branches are actually going away. But evolving is more about the shift to virtual banking that is indeed evolving the way we work with money across the country and the world.