Keywords: financial exclusion, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), spatial statitics, financial exclusion, hotspots
As more consumers take advantage of online banking services, branch networks are condensing across the country. While accessing bank accounts via smartphones, computers, or with a bank representative over the phone can save time and aid customers, physical access to bank branches is still important- especially for specific populations. Stories on branch closures and industry trends are now commonplace in the news. However these stories often focus on the scale of closures, or the total amount of locations that closed over the course of the year. Limited attention is given to where branch closures take place, and more importantly- the regional demographics. This paper studies the spatial relationship between branch closures and the populations that are left with a diminished physical bank presence. Using data from 2010 to 2015, spatio-temporal cluster analysis is conducted to understand the geographic and time dynamics of branch closures, as well as locate hotspots. By understanding the populations who are affected when bank branches disappear, policy makers are better able to prevent financial exclusion.