black mulberry purse Banks are shedding branches at an ever
Banks are picking up the pace of branch closures, according to this story from The Wall Street Journal.
The newspaper reports that the number of branches nationwide “shrank by more than 1,700 in the 12 months ended in June 2017, the biggest decline on record,” as banks “leave less profitable regions and fewer customers use tellers for routine transactions.”
Branch numbers fell again in the second half of 2017, The Journal adds, based on a review of data submitted to bank regulators. Many of the closings “were in big cities and surrounding suburbs, where branches were consolidated largely because of falling foot traffic,” the paper reports. “Others were in rural areas, where some large regional lenders are leaving town altogether.”
The Journal says giant banks started cutting branches years ago, but regional banks “have only accelerated their closures more recently. From mid 2012 to mid 2017, Capital One Financial Corp. cut 32% of its branches, SunTrust Banks Inc. 22% and Regions Financial Corp. 12%. For all three, the sharpest cuts came in the most recent 12 month period.”
In addition, Cincinnati based Fifth Third Bancorp, a major player in Northeast Ohio, is among regionals that disclosed in regulatory filings “that they have been selling land that they had once bought for future branch locations.”
Some closures involve banks leaving rural areas because branches there aren’t profitable enough, according to the Journal analysis. Since mid 2012, Pittsburgh based PNC Financial Services, another big Northeast Ohio player, “has cut its branches in rural areas and small towns by nearly one third.”
From the story:
When PNC closed its only branch in Jeromesville, Ohio, in 2015, the bank told regulators in a letter that it was “due to limited usage in a declining rural area.” In a letter to customers, PNC wrote that consumers were “using branches very differently today” and that they have “more service choices than ever.” While Jeromesville has no remaining bank branches, it still does have a PNC ATM.
“Limited usage is one of many criteria we look at when making the difficult, but necessary decision to close a branch,” PNC said. “Other criteria include community needs and the closest nearby branch.” PNC has a branch roughly eight miles from Jeromesville.
CHANGE OF HEART?
An Independence woman talked with The New York Times for this story about people who factor climate change into their decisions on whether to have children.
“Among them, there is a sense of being saddled with painful ethical questions that previous generations did not have to confront,” The Times says. “Some worry about the quality of life children born today will have as shorelines flood, wildfires rage and extreme weather becomes more common. Others are acutely aware that having a child is one of the costliest actions they can take environmentally.”
The story notes that the birthrate in the United States, which has been falling for a decade,
reached a new low in 2016.
The Times interviewed more than a dozen people ages 18 to 43, including Amanda PerryMiller, a Christian youth leader and mother of two in Independence.
“Animals are disappearing. The oceans are full of plastic. The human population is so numerous, the planet may not be able to support it indefinitely,” PerryMiller, 29, tells the newspaper. “This doesn’t paint a very pretty picture for people bringing home a brand new baby from the hospital.”
The Times says the people it spoke with “fit no single profile. They are women and men, liberal and conservative. They come from many regions and religions.”
PerryMiller says that once she had her first child, climate change made a second feel more urgent.
“Someday, my husband and I will be gone,” she said. “If my daughter has to face the end of the world as we know it, I want her to have her brother there.”
STATE OF THE ART
The Cleveland Museum of Art gets some more national attention, this time from Smithsonian magazine, for its efforts to use technology to improve the guest experience.
From the story:
It wasn’t that it was the first museum to attempt to “go digital.” It was that the Cleveland Museum of Art did it in a meaningful way that went beyond augmented reality phone apps that, when you point your phone toward an object you like, superimpose an informative fact over the piece. CMA worked with creative firms, such as Design I/O, to create ARTLENS, a gallery that incorporates physical artwork with their digital representations in interactive, gesture based games.
In a game called “Line Shape,” for instance, you create a squiggle with your hand movements, and ARTLENS will automatically locate similarly shaped details within the objects of CMA’s collection. Say you draw a little corkscrew in the air, and Line Shape will find and display sculptures, paintings and more that feature a corkscrew as a design element, even if it’s impossibly small and unnoticeable.
Lori Wienke, the museum’s associate director of interpretation and one of the creators of the ARTLENS gallery, tells Smithsonian, “We find that play is a very uninhibiting way to engage people to talk about art and learn about art.”
She adds, “What we’re trying to do with this current iteration is to shift people’s thinking about the idea of play, to take play seriously. The way the games are structured is to allow people to absorb information more intuitively, without being hit over the head that they’re learning something specific.”
The piece concludes by noting that the museum “is looking at sharing the ARTLENS app with museums across the world so that each museum would have their own module within the same app. All would scan their pieces into their modules to recreate what CMA has done in ARTLENS,
but there are no concrete plans to digitally display artwork a museum doesn’t possess.”