Banks are out of control

On July 4th, AM New York ran a story about how bank branches are popping up all over Manhattan. I found it pretty topical to me because there are two Citibank branches within one block of each other near my apartment (granted one is an ATM only location, but still), and there are no less than four Chase branches on my walk to/from work.

In the article, Chase spokesman Tom Kelly says:

“The number one reason that customers choose a bank for their checking account is the location of that bank.”

That couldn’t be more true, which explains not only why banks are popping up all over the place, but also why they are popping up within spitting distance from other banks. For example, the west side of Third Avenue between 58th and 59th in the new Bloomberg building…this one block has a Bank of America, Wachovia, and Citibank. The only store on that side of the street that’s not a bank is a Home Depot. Why does this one block need all those banks? Simply because if one of them wasn’t there, they wouldn’t be entertained as a possible bank for people that work in the area.

In the article, Mr. Kelly also said:

“In Manhattan there may be more branches than are necessary overall, but not too many Chase branches.”

Really? I would like to officially invite Mr. Kelly to the intersection of 57th and Park. Three out of the four corners there are banks. One is a Citibank, and the other two? Yup, both Chase. Why does Chase need two full service branches right across the street from each other? Are New Yorkers that “convenience lazy” to not want to cross Park Avenue to get to a bank?

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