Majority of Americans are concerned about bank branch closures - which are hitting poorer households hardest - as firms like Wells Fargo, PNC and U.S. Bank abandon more than 1,000 locations this year alone

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The majority of Americans are concerned about widespread bank branch closures - which are hitting lower-income households the hardest. 

Growing numbers of people are being left without access to basic financial services, as big-name banks have axed more than 1,000 branches already this year

Data from S&P Global Market Intelligence shows a total of 1,144 national and regional banks were closed between January 1 and July 31 across 49 states - with firms pulling out of some areas at a faster rate than others. 

And an exclusive survey by has found that 51 percent of Americans are 'very concerned' or 'somewhat concerned' about the impact of dwindling outlets, which disproportionately affect poorer households.

According to the analysis by research agency Opinium, 10 percent of Americans with a household income less than $50,000 said they do not have a local bank branch. 

An exclusive survey carried out by Opinium found over half of Americans are 'very' or 'somewhat' concerned about bank branch closures

The data shows how bank branch closures are hitting lower income communities the hardest

This is compared to just 3 percent of Americans with a household income of $100,000 or more.

The survey also found that brick-and-mortar services are less accessible to black Americans. 

While 14 percent of black Americans said they did not have a local branch, this was only the case for 8 percent of white Americans.  

With rampant inflation and the cost of living soaring, experts warn that customers may be more likely to want to discuss their finances with their bank in person.   

Branches provide a lifeline for anyone looking to speak to a staff member or carry out simple tasks such as cashing a check, making a deposit or accessing cash. 

According to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a third of the locations that closed between 2017 and 2021 occurred in areas that were predominately lower-income and majority-minority.

Accelerating closures run a risk of communities becoming so-called 'banking deserts' - when they are without access to a bank or credit union within 10 miles - leaving residents increasingly vulnerable to falling prey to high-fee lending options such as payday loans.

As banks are axing branches, they are also increasingly turning toward digital services - a development which was sped up hugely by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

According to Opinium's research, half of Americans prefer to pay using a digital payment method instead of cash. 

Preference for using digital payment methods also rises fairly steadily with income - likely due to the expensive barrier to entry. 

Around two in five - some 44 percent - of those who make less than $50,000 a year prefer digital payment methods, compared to 59 percent of those who make $100,000 or more. 

Preference for using digital payment methods also rises fairly steadily with income - likely due to the expensive barrier to entry

Grace Miller, research manager at Opinium, said: 'Despite the majority of Americans preferring digital payment methods over cash, recent bank closures across the United States are still causing concern. 

'Notably, the digital transition showcases disparities in accessibility, especially for Americans with lower household incomes. 

'As the financial landscape evolves, it's important we don't overlook populations negatively affected by bank closures and the growing popularity of digital payment methods.'

The latest spate of bank closures across the US in the first seven months of this year brings the total since 2019 to 10,680.

A handful affected small regional banks but nationals including Wells Fargo, Chase and U.S. Bank represented the bulk. 

While California had the most closures in absolute terms, New Jersey suffered the greatest losses per capita with a total of 83. It was trailed by Washington D.C. and Connecticut

While a handful of closures affected small regional banks, national banks including Wells Fargo, Chase and U.S. Bank represented the bulk

PNC was the worst offender, axing a total of 201 bank branches in just seven months. U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo were close behind, having closed 185 and 160 branches respectively.

A spokesman for Wells Fargo told last month that although branches in many regions are closing, a smaller number are opening in a handful of successful markets.

'While the total number of branches continues to decline, new branches are being opened in high growth neighborhoods of existing markets, allowing us to offer more branch convenience,' they said in a statement. 

'We may also open new branches where we combine two older existing branches into one better situated location. Additionally, customers use our wide range of digital capabilities for many of their banking needs and, as a result, more transactions are happening outside the branch.'

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