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Bank branch closures in SF hit neighborhoods hard

Bank branch closures impact neighborhoods in SF
Flickr user russell davies
Flickr / Creative Commons
Bank branch closures impact neighborhoods in SF

Banks are closing branches across the country, and San Francisco is feeling the effect. So far, 20 branches have closed across the city this year. According to the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, that’s more branch closures than the past two years combined — and more than any single year since 2000.

San Francisco is a city of neighborhoods, and some areas are more cut off from the rest of the city. For residents of Bayview, the recent closure of a U.S. Bank on Third Street was another upsetting surprise in a string of business shutterings.

The Bayview neighborhood has one of the highest concentrations of African American, Asian, and Latinx residents. The median income is substantially lower than the rest of the city.

Longtime Bayview resident, Cheryl Thornton, said, “I think, once again, it’s a structural, systemic racism problem. You attack the people who are the most vulnerable first.”

The area has been historically restricted from access to banking institutions, which is especially damaging to people seeking loans for homes and businesses.

While most neighborhoods in the city have an average of nine-to-10 bank branches, the Bayview’s nearly 24,000 residents now have only two.

I was born and raised in San Francisco and grew up in SF Unified, listening to KALW. An avid traveller and cultural adventurer, I spent the 15 years leading up to the 2020 pandemic running youth hostels around the Bay Area and exploring as much as possible. More recently I've completed my MA at SF State in Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts. I'm passionate about culture and community, and believe joy and pleasure are radical routes to social progress.