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Guest Post: Take It To The Bank

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform blog,

Reports like the recent one from SNL Financial – Branch Networks Continue to Shrink really get my goat. As I travel the increasingly vacant highways of Montgomery County, PA I’m keenly aware of my surroundings. If I were a foreigner visiting for the first time, I’d think Space Available was the hot new retailer in the country. I’ve detailed the slow disintegration of our suburban sprawl paradise in previous articles:


Are you Seeing What I’m Seeing?

More than 30 Blocks of Grey and Decay

Extend & Pretend Coming to an End

Thousands of Space Available signs dot the bleak landscape, as office buildings, strip malls, and industrial complexes wither and die. Gas stations are shuttered on a daily basis as the ongoing depression results in less miles being driven by unemployed and underemployed suburbanites. At least the Chinese “Space Available” sign manufacturers are doing well. The only buildings doing brisk business are the food banks and homeless shelters.


The sad part is that I live in a relatively prosperous county with a low level of SNAP recipients and primarily occupied by a white collar college educated populace. If the clear downward spiral in my upper middle class county is an indication of our country’s path, the less well-off counties across the land must be in deep trouble.

While hundreds of thousands of square feet of retail, restaurant, office and industrial space have been vacated in the last six years, the only entities expanding in my area have been banks, drug stores, municipal buildings and healthcare facilities. I have been flabbergasted by what I’ve viewed as a complete waste of resources to create facilities that weren’t needed and wouldn’t be utilized. I have seven drug stores within five miles of my house. I have ten bank branches within five miles of my house. While two perfectly fine older hospitals in Norristown were abandoned, a brand new $300 million super deluxe, glass encased Einstein Hospital palace was built three miles away by a barely above junk bond status non-profit institution. None of this makes sense in a contracting economy.

This is another classic case of mal-investment spurred by the Federal Reserve easy money policies, zero interest rates, and QEternity. Cheap money leads to bad investments. I’m all for competition between drug store chains and banks. CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid are the three big chains in the country. I have my pick of multiple stores close to my house. There are clearly too many stores competing for a dwindling number of customers, with a dwindling supply of disposable income. The only reason Rite Aid is still in the picture is the easy money policies of the Federal Reserve. They have been teetering on the verge of bankruptcy for the last five years, but continue to get cheap financing from the Wall Street cabal, who would rather pretend they will get paid, than write-off the bad debt. Who in their right mind would continue to lend money to a company with $6 billion in debt, NEGATIVE $2.3 billion of equity, and losses exceeding $2 billion since 2008? They are the poster child for badly run businesses that over expanded, took on too much debt and should be liquidated. There are over 4,600 zombie Rite Aid stores littering the countryside waiting to be put out of their misery.

the walking dead season 4 rick grimes  rite-aid-corner-abandoned

Rite Aid will never repay the $6 billion of debt. They know it. Their auditors know it. Their Wall Street lenders know it. The Federal Reserve Bank regulators know it. Anyone with a functioning brain knows it. Tune in to CNBC for those who are paid to keep clueless investors from knowing it. Interest rates that actually reflected risk and weren’t manipulated to an artificially low level by the Federal Reserve would make financing for a dog like Rite Aid a non-starter. Creative destruction would be allowed to work its magic, with winners separated from losers. Instead Rite Aid continues as a zombie entity, barely surviving for now. This exact scenario applies to J.C. Penney, RadioShack, Sears and a myriad of other dead retailers walking. Rather than suffering the consequences of appalling management judgment, dreadful strategic decisions, and reckless financial gambles, they have been allowed to remain on life support compliments of Bernanke, his Wall Street chiefs, and the American taxpayer.

In a truly free, non-manipulated market the weak would be culled, new dynamic competitors would fill the void, and consumers would benefit.  Extending debt payment schedules of zombie entities and pretending you will get paid has been the mantra of the insolvent zombie Wall Street banks since 2009. The Federal Reserve is responsible for zombifying the entire country. And it wasn’t a mistake. It was a choice made by those in power in order to maintain the status quo. The fateful day in March 2009 when the pencil pushing lightweight accountants at the FASB rescinded mark to market accounting rules gave birth to zombie nation. And not coincidently, marked the bottom for the stock market. Wall Street banks were free to fabricate their earnings, pretend they didn’t have hundreds of billions in bad loans on their books, and extend the terms of commercial real estate loans that were in default. With their taxpayer funded TARP ransom, ability to borrow at 0% from Uncle Ben, and the $3 trillion of QE cocaine snorted up their noses in the last four years, the mal-investment, fraud, and idiocy of the Wall Street drug addicts has reached a crescendo.

Commerce Bank

The mal-investment by zombie drug store chains has only been exceeded by the foolish, egocentric, insane bank branch expansion by the Too Big To Trust Wall Street CEOs. In the last ten years dozens of bank branches have been built in the vicinity of my house and across the state of Pennsylvania. These gleaming glass TARP palaces are on virtually every other street corner across Montgomery County. Stunning, glittery, colorful branches stuffed with bank employees pretending to loan money to non-existent customers. They have become nothing but a high priced marketing billboard with an ATM attached. By 2010, the number of bank branches in this country had reached almost 100,000. The vast majority are run by the usual insolvent suspects:

Wells Fargo – 6,500

J.P. Morgan – 6,000

Bank of America – 5,700

The top ten biggest banks, in addition to holding the vast majority of deposits, mortgages and credit card accounts, operate 33% of all the bank branches in the country. The very same banks that have paid out $66 billion in criminal settlement charges over the last three years and have incurred $103 billion of legal fees to defend themselves against the thousands of actions brought by victims for their criminal misdeeds, decided it was a wise decision to open new bank branches from 2007 through 2010. Only an Ivy League educated MBA could possibly think this was a good idea.

It was almost as if the CEO’s of the biggest Wall Street banks didn’t care about pissing away the $2.5 million to build the average 3,500 square foot bank branch, which would require $30 million of deposits to breakeven. This level of deposits isn’t easy to achieve when your customers are unemployed due to your bank destroying the American economy, broke due to their real household income declining by 10% over the past fourteen years, and your bank paying them .15% on their deposits. It also probably doesn’t help when you charge them $3 every time they withdraw their own money from your bank and you charge them $25 when their bank balance falls below $1,000 because they just got laid off from Merck on Christmas Eve. It is now estimated that one-third of all bank branches in the country lose money. Who can afford to run something that consistently losses money, other than our government? Wall Street bankers can when the taxpayer is footing the bill and Bernanke/Yellen subsidizes their mal-investment by lending to them at 0%, providing them $2.5 billion per day of QE play money, and paying them $5 billion per year in interest to park the excess reserves that aren’t getting leant to small businesses and consumers at their thousands of gleaming bank branches.

Hasn’t one of the thousands of highly educated MBA vice presidents occupying offices at the Too Big To Control Wall Street banks explained to Stumpf, Dimon and Monyihan that bricks and mortar are dead? A new invention called the internet has made in-person banking virtually obsolete. Why does anyone need to go into a bank branch in this electronic age? I’ve been in my credit union branch five times in the last ten years, twice for a refinance closing on my home and a couple times to get a certified check. With ATM machines, direct deposit and on-line bill paying, why would the country need 100,000 physical bank locations? I pay 90% of my bills on-line. If I need cash, I hit the ATM at Wawa, where there are no ATM fees (my credit union doesn’t charge me to get my own money). The only people who go into bank branches on a regular basis are old fogeys that don’t trust that new-fangled internet. The older generations are dying out and the millennial generation has no need for bank branches. Their iGadgets function as their bank connection. Plus, since they don’t have jobs or money, a bank account at the local bank branch of J.P. Morgan seems a bit trite.

The writing had been on the wall for a long time, but the reckless bank executives continued to build branches in an ego driven desire to outdo their equally irresponsible competitor bank executives. Now the race is on to see which banks can close the most branches. Bank consultant Jim Adkins succinctly sums up the pure idiocy of physical bank branches:

“There’s almost nobody in the branches. You could shoot water balloons all over the place and not hit anybody.”

It seems my humble state of Pennsylvania leads the pack in closing branches in the past year, with 149 abandoned and only 43 opened. Only two states in the entire country had more branch openings than closings.


After shuttering 2,267 branches in 2012, the industry is on track to closing another 2,500 in 2013. Shockingly, the leader of the Wall Street zombie apocalypse, Bank of America, led the pack in bank branch closings with 194 in the last year. Staying true to his hubristic arrogance, Jamie Dimon actually opened 62 more branches than he closed in the last year, despite his upstanding institution having to pay tens of billions in fines, settlements and pay-offs for their criminal transgressions.

There are now 93,000 bank branches remaining in this country, and one third of them don’t generate a profit. That percentage will grow as the older generations rapidly die out and are replaced by the techno-narcissists who never leave their family rooms.  Online banking already accounts for 53% of banking transactions, compared with 14% for in-branch visits. Younger bank customers increasingly prefer online and mobile banking, as advancing technology enables them to make remote deposits, shop for loans and manage accounts more efficiently from their desktops or smartphones. This trend will only accelerate in the years to come.

Banking industry profits reached a record level of $141 billion in 2012 as more vacancy signs appeared on Main Street. Now that the Wall Street cabal have syphoned every ounce of blood from their customers/victims through ATM fees, overdraft fees, minimum balance fees, credit card fees, late payment fees, and paying no interest on deposits, they are forced to focus on the $300,000 average loss per bank branch. QE and ZIRP might not last forever. Yeah right. AlixPartners, a New York consulting firm, expects the number of bank branches to drop to 80,000 over the next decade. They are wrong. They have failed to take into account the lemming like behavior of Wall Street banks. As their accounting gimmicks to generate fake profits dissipate, the increasingly desperate insolvent zombie banks will rapidly vacate their prime corner locations in droves. With approximately 30,000 locations already generating losses, the Wall Street MBAs will be closing branches quicker than you can say “mortgage fraud”. There will be less than 70,000 branches within the next five years. That means another 20,000 to 30,000 Space Available signs going up on Main Street. That means another 200,000 to 300,000 neighbors without jobs. But don’t worry about Jamie Dimon and the rest of the Wall Street bankers. They’ll be just fine. In addition to being endlessly fed by the Fed, they’ll get creative and charge their customers a new bank branch access fee of $50 for the privilege of entering one of their few remaining outlets. By now we should know how cash flows to Main Street in this corporate fascist paradise.

Do your part to starve the beast. Move your bank accounts to a local credit union. Don’t support criminals.


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Sun, 11/17/2013 - 23:39 | 4164101 CashCowEquity
CashCowEquity's picture

rite aid? 6 billion, thats in between Bernankes couch cushions...chump change

Sun, 11/17/2013 - 23:48 | 4164114 gdogus erectus
gdogus erectus's picture

Man, I feel so bad for these guys.  I think I'll go open an account at my local Chase branch.  They seem to be opening up everywhere and wiill need my support to survive.  Thank you for alterting me to this issue so that I can help.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 00:02 | 4164142 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

I live in a suburb of about 10,000.  Within 1.25 miles of our place, there are SIX banks, one more U/C.  Just two drug stores though.

I'll bet those drug stores would do much better business if they ignored that "prescription necessary" stuff...

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 00:14 | 4164169 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

Of course there's more drug stores.

The boomers are going to need easy access to their prescription drugs and overpriced crap between the drug counter and the exit door.

After picking up your drugs you'll want to make sure you keep some poor chinese kid employed on your way out the door.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 01:25 | 4164275 MeMadMax
MeMadMax's picture

Nobody held a gun to your head and told you to "sign this mortgage" or "open a bank account"...


Seriously, you all that bitch about fraudulant mortgages are just as much as a part of the problem as the banks/gov'ment are...


Oh yea, writer of article failed to mention any of the enableing tactics brought on by the gov'ment...


As if they had nothing to do with this... >_>

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 08:08 | 4164507 markmotive
markmotive's picture

This is about the hollowing out of America. The death of the middle class.

America is now about finance and profit from finance flow to the 1%. "For Lease" signs may be everywhere but the elite class is richer than ever.

The Destruction Of America’s Middle Class (In Under Seven Minutes)

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 11:19 | 4165126 DadzMad
DadzMad's picture

I don't entirely disagree, but I've seen many upper middle income families make some VERY stupid decisions.  Everyone wanted to be the big swinging dick on the block and it came back to haunt them.  No, you shouldn't have had an Escalade, a Mercedes for mommy, and a 5500 ft² home with your middle management income.  And if you made it this far in life and didn't figure this out, so sorry.  For your kids sake I hope you can pull it together.  I'm not Darwinian and think he and his cousin Galton were eugenicist assholes, but for fucks sake grow up and think!  I'm tired of losing neighbors who throw good barbeques.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 16:02 | 4166354 IdiocracyIsAlre...
IdiocracyIsAlreadyHere's picture

Downvoted you for the complete misunderstanding of what "Darwinian" is.  Common fail.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 10:15 | 4164826 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

You guys are missing the big opportunity: combined drug stores and bank branches.  You borrow at the bank and buy the drugs.


Mon, 11/18/2013 - 11:15 | 4165109 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

I'm pretty sure walmart has that one covered...  general store + grocery store + bank + eye care + pharmacy... 

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 00:07 | 4164151 takeaction
takeaction's picture

You should see the new Chase that just is in a strip mall that has very limited parking.  They open this Chase Bank that looks like a dance club rather than a bank...neon blue lights, dark glass, backlit signs......and then they take up 30% of the entire strip malls parking by putting two of those detached covered drive through ATM's.    We have banks opening up EVERYWHERE...all new construction.  Banking must be good....

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 00:22 | 4164180 lewy14
lewy14's picture

I remember waiting in line at a bank branch.


Mon, 11/18/2013 - 00:38 | 4164208 bunzbunzbunz
bunzbunzbunz's picture

Just wait until Chase gets the balls to put Bitcoin ATMs in their branches. Apeshit withing 2 months. All they have to do is put a sign over it that says 'Alternate Diversified Investment ATM'. Flocks of sea gulls and sheep will arrive for the new opportunity. I'm desperately trying to get all the free bitcoins I can before that happens at . If anyone knows a place where you can get them faster, please let me know.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 08:19 | 4164522 Race Car Driver
Race Car Driver's picture

Don't forget to wash your hands before you go ... they'll need to be clean for the palm scan.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 08:54 | 4164561 DaddyO
DaddyO's picture

All these empty bank branches will be converted to Biometric Verification Stations when the Banksters realize we need chips in our palms to keep us safe from fraud.

It's for the chillrens afterall...


Mon, 11/18/2013 - 00:52 | 4164241 putaipan
putaipan's picture

calling henry george .....

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 05:21 | 4164427 OldPhart
OldPhart's picture

We had a local restaurant, family owned, great food...order a salad and you'd get enough to feed a cow.  They were in business for over twenty years.

Chase Bank bought their mortgage, closed them and announced a new branch location on the property.  That was four years ago.  It's still an empty restaurant with a temporary chain link fence around it.

Chase bank took down their signs.  Opened a branch inside the Stater Brothers across the street.

It was a great restaurant.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 07:43 | 4164482 Wahooo
Wahooo's picture

Sounds like that nice family was tired of busting their asses 24x7 in the restaurant business and now they can take it easy. Hard to blame them for selling.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 11:17 | 4165114 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Sounds like as nice as it was that they couldn't or wouldn't pay their note...  Everyone can make a great restaurant if actually making a profit is out of the question.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 11:28 | 4165156 gruden
gruden's picture

He didn't say they bought the business, he said they bought the mortgage.  Nearly every mortgage has terms where the note holder can demand immediate payment or foreclose.  That isn't generally done, but they can, and there's no recourse.  So even if that family wanted to stay in business at that location, if the bank demanded payment on the note and they couldn't come up with the full amount of the balance, the bank gets the property and they are free to do as they please.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 13:15 | 4165603 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Yes, acceleration clauses are common as are choice of remedy clauses...  however, it first requires a default from the mortgagor...

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 20:57 | 4167711 OldPhart
OldPhart's picture

Chase bought the note.  The location the of the restaurant had become prime property over the years.  Where it once sat alone on a corner with not much around; over the last five years a huge shopping complex was built, along with theater, and other strip mall stuff across one street.  And, the other direction, across the highway, was another big complex.

What had been a lonely place known to locals was in the center of commerce.  Chase bought the note to put a branch on the corner.  It was announced, big signs where put up, the family shared their tale with many of us on their closing day.

Now behind it and to the side have been built newer strip malls.  But the property is still surrounded with temporary chain link.  Chase wanted to be the first branch in the nieghborhood, but they got stopped somehow.  But not before killing a thriving restaurant.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 00:01 | 4164131 VD
VD's picture

banks can offer any interest rate they want to savers. credit unions also do not offer interest. but yes, credit unions are a better move. in LESS THAN a 3 block radius here in Manhattan there are THREE Chase banks; that's 3 banks taking up major ultra-prime ground floor property in one of the most expensive zip codes in the world: but they don't really pay for their leases now do they...

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 01:55 | 4164300 JohnnyBriefcase
JohnnyBriefcase's picture

Thank you. This post made things very clear.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 00:10 | 4164158 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture

thats in between Bernankes couch cushions


When you say 'in between Bernanke's couch cushions', you're talking about furniture, right?  Otherwise, you have crossed into a place that I don't want to go...

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 00:15 | 4164171 WOAR
WOAR's picture

Those are Bernanke's ass billions.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 11:19 | 4165123 MachoMan
Mon, 11/18/2013 - 00:52 | 4164240 starfcker
starfcker's picture

i love jim quinn. nasty, pissed off, hyper observant and right on the money on this stuff. jim, they have to keep the zombie retailers open so nobody realizes all that's left is walmart. and common sense would tell you a low EBT area would be doing better than a high one. not in obama's america. here in ft. lauderdale we have the space available signs right down to the shuttered shell stations. but we've got EBT, baby, so we've got an endless parade of trayvons in escalades and bmw's. no job, no problem. you've got the card, and it ain't american express any longer.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 01:06 | 4164260 wee-weed up
wee-weed up's picture

The Obungler Economy!

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 03:19 | 4164375 prains
Sun, 11/17/2013 - 23:40 | 4164102 catch edge ghost
catch edge ghost's picture

Nature. Winning.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 04:40 | 4164418 Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

As someone who has for the last 20 years lived in Florida or Coastal Georgia.....I've seen first hand, year over year the increases, not only of these zombie properties.....but the increase in "This space available" on billboards along I-95 from South Carolina to Miami.

Yeah.....the economy is recovering.  LOL !!

Sun, 11/17/2013 - 23:42 | 4164104 the 300000000th...
the 300000000th percent's picture

If you build it, they wont come??

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 00:39 | 4164211 bunzbunzbunz
bunzbunzbunz's picture

They'll come, but not the good kind like you want.

Sun, 11/17/2013 - 23:45 | 4164107 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



PA doesn't have any good college football teams anymore, either...

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 00:05 | 4164150 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

Well, they used to have a team that liked to entertain little boys in the showers.

I guess that's why they called it Happy Valley (especially between the cheeks.)

Sun, 11/17/2013 - 23:50 | 4164108 q99x2
q99x2's picture

I blocked CNBC from my browser and don't watch their interviews if they are posted on ZH. But I'll read the summary.

Lots of firewood in case the citizens of this great nation need to stay warm through the winter.

Can't wait till they convert the Wall Marts into local dumps.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 04:28 | 4164416 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

Convert? They are dumps. The only difference is that the trash has price tags.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 11:38 | 4165193 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Close...  to be fair, the items are probably a month away from breaking through normal use...  so, it's more like a sorted, categorized, and shelved dump where the best items have been sifted through and the worst discarded (left off the shelves), unless the broken items have been returned, and then they're probably first on the shelf....  made incredibly obvious from the stickers and/or open seals.

Sun, 11/17/2013 - 23:46 | 4164111 666
666's picture

Jim, can you say "anger management"?


I agree with you 100%; however, if there weren't any more brick and mortar branches, then what would I rob?

Sun, 11/17/2013 - 23:49 | 4164118 max2205
max2205's picture

Sad....sad that I read this same stuff in 2008....

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 00:25 | 4164183 DavidPierre
DavidPierre's picture

"...same stuff..."




Your level of 9-11 Ignorance is multidimensional and diverse. 

The stench your 9-11 Ignorance has settled like toxic smog over all your writing, as you chose comforting ignorance over disconcerting knowledge about 9-11 Truth.  

Like most other highly educated wannabe members, who constitute the ruling class of the United States of Assassination,  you purposefully ignore 9-11 Scientific Facts and 9-11 Truth because the retention and enhancement of your ego is dependent upon not understanding what you clearly have the knowledge to understand.

Quinn...I've been calling you out for years.

You are a servile self-seeker who attempts to win favor by flattering people.

Hey!!! ... why refuse to get in the 9/11Fight Club ring here at ZH.

Hide in your little blog populated by other sycophants.

Without a delete button ... a terrified little PUSSY.

Live in fear, write about doom and gloom,  social frauds, economic myths, political fads, and racial fallacies.

Of science, you know little or nothing.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 01:01 | 4164254 Terminus C
Terminus C's picture

You know David, I think you should leave Mr. Quinn be.  If he does not understand physics, why should you care?  You and he both know that when someone is reduced to ad hominem attacks rather than fact based arguments then that person has lost the argument.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 20:39 | 4167647 BigSpruce
BigSpruce's picture

Looks like someone woke up and didnt take his must be because his local Rite Aid just closed.

Sun, 11/17/2013 - 23:58 | 4164133 Big Brother
Big Brother's picture

I don't miss going into Wells Fargo.  They would always be right in your face trying to sell you "bill-pay" and open a "savings account" or fundamentally "borrow more money".  I pay bill ALL my bills online already, I don't want to lend them money at their proposed savings rate, and I do not want anymore debt.  However, I do appreciate they're prevalence of ATMs.

Also, WRT government pork projects that don't increase productivity or efficiency:  driving on I35, I have noticed that there are stretches of road with "guard-wire" rails and emergency/police u-turn connections being paved.  I can't think of how that improves anything:  I can't drive faster and the road cannot hold more cars.  I don't see these wires preventing a out-of-control semi from entering an oncoming lane.  So what has adding accomplished?- temporarily employing a construction worker? 

Short-sightedness abound...  This will not end well.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 01:05 | 4164257 putaipan
putaipan's picture

everytime i see the wells fargo signs they just scream out for a little banksy touch of a hammer and scythe. matches the color scheme perfectly. c'mon stencil commrades!

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 01:13 | 4164265 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture

"  So what has adding accomplished?"

It's herd control when TSHTF. Might want to consider carrying some bolt cutters in your vehicle.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 01:23 | 4164273 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

Bank tellers scare the shit out of me. Let me explain.

They are paid little, have little education and quite often are of the 'Shaniqua' variety. They are then pushed to 'sell' additional 'services.' They depend on the commissions from these 'sales' and their job depends on hitting certain 'performance' targets. So it is easy to alienate one of them and have them fill out a form informing on you and your transactions to the feds. (Look it up.) And with each bank and each branch expected to show a certain level of 'compliance,' well, let's just say you may one day find your account frozen 'for investigative purposes.'

At my branch there is virtually a new teller every week or two, so I am ALWAYS on smooze-mode with them, like I live in East Germany, which I do in a sense--"Land of the free, home of the..." LOL


"Is it time for the guillotines yet?!

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 11:50 | 4165235 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Do you think someone who gets paid minimum wage is going to give a shit enough to fill out a suspicious activity report on you?  Further, if you see the same people in the bank each week you visit and actually develop a relationship with them, do you think that they're going to fill out a report?  They're going to stay late that night to report you because they can't fill it out at the time due to the 400 people in line behind you?

The bank's software flags suspicious activity...  it's automated...  [e.g. if you use multiple transactions of lower than $10k]...  and reviewed periodically by upper level management...  which is then fed higher up the regulatory chain.  Granted, they'll want a few human generated reports to show compliance/kiss the ring, but they're for show and really don't amount to a hill of beans unless a reviewer wants to make an example out of you.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 00:03 | 4164145 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

Jim, my PA, friend, we're tapped out.  Doesn't surprise me that PA is leading the nation in openings vs. closings of bank branches.  

Still, based on your thesis, this should be a GOOD thing.  Fewer branches to service fewer customers.

You might want to go back and look at payday lenders and check cashing stores.  I suspect you will find an inverse correlation to bank branches.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 00:18 | 4164154 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

What I'm seeing down in the Sunshine state is more and more Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and cheap auto parts stores opening up.

And, for one small town that I live in they do seem to have a shiite load of bank branches and credit unions for a sparsely populated county.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 08:28 | 4164533 Race Car Driver
Race Car Driver's picture

Don't poo-poo those cheap auto parts stores. You're gonna need them to keep your old auto running - 'cause a new car is gonna be out of the question ... and why would you even want one?

Instead, buy an old pre-'04 car or truck and fix it up. Preferably something pre-90's - that doesn't record/report your every move.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 09:17 | 4164623 Little Boots
Little Boots's picture

Everyone is tapped out. PA's high number has probably more to do with declining pop in the western part and banks making many acquistions throughout the state

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 09:17 | 4164624 Little Boots
Little Boots's picture

Everyone is tapped out. PA's high number has probably more to do with declining pop in the western part and banks making many acquistions throughout the state

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 00:03 | 4164147 jim249
jim249's picture

"as the older generations rapidly die out"


Not so fast there, I am in no hurry to go.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 00:10 | 4164156 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

Not to worry, Obamacare is here to help with that.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 00:16 | 4164172 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

 Car dealership?

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 00:16 | 4164173 Dad Was Right
Dad Was Right's picture

Unfortunately, there are quite a few Space Available signs out there. But as someone familiar with the sign industry I can assure you those signs are made in America, generally with American materials, and installed by American labor. Most of these sign companies range from small locally owned companies to larger regional companies. Also, the numbers of these signs are hardly enough to offset the revenues and profits generated for these local employers by supplyingthe signage needs of growing businesses in a healthy economy. Most of these sign companies are struggling to keep skilled and unskilled  labor employed and return a fair profit, just like most businesses I would say.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 00:31 | 4164189 Not_Sure
Not_Sure's picture

Staying true to his hubristic arrogance, Jamie Dimon actually opened 62 more branches than he closed in the last year, despite his upstanding institution having to pay tens of billions in fines, settlements and pay-offs for their criminal transgressions.


Actually. the only reason JPM opened more branches than they closed is because they administer the EBT cards.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 00:31 | 4164192 IridiumRebel
IridiumRebel's picture

Title Loan businesses are flourishing; payday loans too. We are fucked. Just received the FIFTH offer to buy our house. Everyone loves it. Problem is that no one can secure a loan for it.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 00:39 | 4164210 Make_Mine_A_Double
Make_Mine_A_Double's picture

IMHO we hit peak consumption back in the 90's. Gonna be a lot more vacant store fronts when anchors go tits up - Marshall's, Sears, JCP. Only the top tier malls will thrive - everything else goes ghetto.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 11:56 | 4165256 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Exactly.  QE can't hide the ball too long...  and, as a result, we're witnessing a pretty punitive flight to quality rather than a broad based decline/universal step down in prices.  Those folks who see the train a commin' have been able to buy quality properties for approximately the same cost per sq. ft as the stuff that's going to get monkey hammered as we continue in the flight to quality.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 00:44 | 4164219 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Add Best Buy to the list.

Why that stock has ramped is beyond me; other than speculative chicanery - the online deals are so much better and tax free from places like Newegg and Tiger Direct.

.gov better increase the Food Stamp/EBT monthly allotment or WalMart will be on the same path.

We're nigh for another turning, can you feel it?  I can.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 00:53 | 4164245 IridiumRebel
IridiumRebel's picture

I feel it.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 02:05 | 4164314 Make_Mine_A_Double
Make_Mine_A_Double's picture

Oh yeah I can feel it.

When I go back to Kentucky to visit my Sis I like to look around their little town - Winchester. The old little strip mall from the 70's is all shut down except for some Mexi food store, laundry mat - super low end - shady doped up locals, falling down mostly.

When I was a kid it was a big deal to go there - hobby shop, gun store, crafts, books - the usual mix. All individual small businesses.

Now they have a half dozen big box shit stores who got gravey train tax breaks and pay minimum wage to locals who are 90% on the dole.

Only jobs around around are the U K, growing dope and moonshin'.

But that little strip mall and a grocery was all that town ever needed.

And this has been repeated in every BugTussle dog patch in MeriKca.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 18:48 | 4167189 ceilidh_trail
ceilidh_trail's picture

I remember that strip mall. Micky d's was there (or near it). We used to stop in there to or from the lake. It used to be very busy. A metapho for the rest of the country...

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 12:25 | 4165366 aerojet
aerojet's picture

It ramped because every stock ramped--Lockheed Martin is up like 49% this year.  WTF?  How is that even possible except for the sugar high of QE?

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 00:45 | 4164227 CashCowEquity
CashCowEquity's picture

Foleys Toast

JCPenny Toast Soon

Marshall Fields= Toast

Circuit City= Toast

Montgomery Wards = Toast

Rite Aid= Soon Toast 

Sears Toast Soon (According to my warranty work handyman)

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 07:49 | 4164488 tazmatic
tazmatic's picture

Middle class burnt toast

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 08:37 | 4164543 Race Car Driver
Race Car Driver's picture

> Soon Toast

... don't worry, it will all soon end

it is all shallow and pretend ...


Crack of Doom

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 12:25 | 4165371 aerojet
aerojet's picture

You say that, but these things can play out for much, much longer than you think in a 0% environment.  By rights, Sears should have been liquidating two years ago, but it hasn't happened.  

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 02:11 | 4164318 U4 eee aaa
U4 eee aaa's picture

At the peak of the real estate boom, people were crowing that they weren't making any more real estate. Apparently, the Fed even found out a way to do that. Addition by subtraction (or is that contraction?).

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 12:27 | 4165374 aerojet
aerojet's picture

That's just the stupid nonsense that those people say in order to get you to buy.  It's all bs and not even real smart bs.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 20:51 | 4167692 U4 eee aaa
U4 eee aaa's picture

Yes, I know. I would always come back with the fact that you could tear down a block of 6 or 8 houses and put up condo towers with 20, 30 or more units. That usually ended the debate

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 02:42 | 4164340 Motorhead
Motorhead's picture

And Rite Aid (RAD) stock price is at multi-year highs.  Go figure!

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 07:38 | 4164480 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

don't worry about rad execs, they got plenty.


Mon, 11/18/2013 - 02:55 | 4164347 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

  All Joking Aside< Iclosed all my trades for loses. Something feels wrong! 

   F/X is stuck in Gumby Land! 

 I need to recheck to overnight lending markets.


Mon, 11/18/2013 - 03:14 | 4164371 Trimmed Hedge
Trimmed Hedge's picture

BTC passed $600 while Taylor sleeps...

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 04:45 | 4164419 Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

Like that bullshit isn't a bubble.

Bitcoin.....LOL !!!    Just about the DUMBEST thing humankind has pulled off in quite some time.  Like perhaps.....Tulip Mania in the 1600's.  At least after the crash of Tulip Mania we still had a REAL physical garden of flowers to enjoy.

I rather see a mania involving Magic The Gathering cards becoming currency.  After all.....after that INEVITABLE crash you would still have some incredible fantasy art AND be able to play the game.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 03:45 | 4164398 zipit
zipit's picture

It hasn't been  "upper middle class county" in a long time, if it ever was.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 05:06 | 4164424 squexx
squexx's picture

Yet thru all this, everywhere you go you see wetback Mexicans with their anchor babies who seem to be working!

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 07:42 | 4164481 starfcker
starfcker's picture

think they buy those $50,000 pickups working? think again

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 18:53 | 4167211 ceilidh_trail
ceilidh_trail's picture

So, selling/moving heroin isn't work?

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 05:54 | 4164440 AngelEyes00
AngelEyes00's picture

Wow, great report with lots of disturbing data, like all those bank branch closings.  I'm wondering if a lack of interest for the depositors is why so many are closing.  It's as if banking is changing, from paying interest worth mentioning to depositors, to simply taking the easy printed stuff Helicopter Ben hands them. 

Speaking of multiple branches.  In our area there are 3 car part stores within 50 yards of each other.  You can stand in between them, clearly read their signs and then in quick order do some comparison shopping.  But it's just a little community so it's obvious one or more will have to bow out at some point.  That is if Wall St. doesn't hold their hand like Rite Aid.

Rite Aid use to be in the same mini mall as Safeway in our area, then decided to build their own building on an adjacent corner.  What was wrong with where they were before.  Surely everybody in our area knew where it was.  Why did it need to spend so much to have it's own building in a prominent location?  It seems like wasted money, which is in part why they are so far in debt.



Mon, 11/18/2013 - 07:45 | 4164484 starfcker
starfcker's picture

you nailed it without knowing it. if your primary business is selling packaged debt to the fed (gs, jpm, ms, etc.), you need to create lots of it.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 12:28 | 4165382 aerojet
aerojet's picture

The banks fucked themselves with all those fees--$3 to transer from savings to checking?  How about no?

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 06:17 | 4164447 10mm
10mm's picture

Funny, because Montcomery County is one of the wealthiest in the state, or at least it use to be. Bryn Mawr, Villinova, Wayne, Gladwyn, Paoli etc.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 12:28 | 4165386 aerojet
aerojet's picture

It is still Pennsylvania we're talking about, however.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 06:26 | 4164453 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

Went into a Chase branch to cash one of their MO's from a transaction, the interior had some offices and 3 'kiosks' in the middle.  I was approached by a woman who asked how she could help, stated I needed to cash a MO, and she preceded to one of the kiosks, started entering some info on a screen then scanned the MO.  She then asked for ID and a credit card.  I asked why the CC and she said as a form of ID.  I said you can verify my DL but I'm not giving you a CC.  She asked me to remove my DL from my wallet, took it, and then scanned it via the kiosk.  Hmm.  She again asked for a CC and I said no way, either cash the MO now or I'm off to another branch.  She excused herself, went into an office, returned in a few minutes, entered some more info on a screen and then pulled open a drawer on the front of the kiosk which was full of bills. I counted the money, said Thanks, and left.  Bizarre. I have a feeling next time I look in there, all the people will be gone and there will only be the kiosks...

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 06:48 | 4164455 WTFUD
WTFUD's picture

Thrift shops, slop houses ( moonshine blues bars ) and knocking shops. Opium,err crack houses and religous centres.
Ooh how i ache for the return of the good old days.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 07:22 | 4164471 MickV
MickV's picture

Jim Quinn is a narcissistic little accountant who writes some really good stuff but is clueless as to the one major Constitutional disaster that dominates everything else (by the way, he sends his kids to that child sex coddler Penn State, while at the same time railing about the endowments of large Universities-- hows that for willful blindness?). Any disagreement with the little egomaniac accountant brings a barage of insult on that blog, and I was banned there for trying to open his eyes to the REAL Constitutional disaster that has voided all US Citizen sovereignty.

Barack Obama is not a "bad" or "clueless" POTUS. He is an actual domestic enemy of the US. He was put in place specifically to void YOUR SOVEREIGNTY Quinn, since he is not a natural born Citizen, eligible for POTUS. Obama is not a "bad" POTUS, he is the worst thing that ever happened to America-- he represents the end of America. When the POTUS, the executor of the laws, is an illegal entity, then there is no law Quinn, you coward. You refuse to tell the real truth, or even know the truth--- that there is no law because it has been voided by an illegal POTUS. Thus the FASB Mark to Fantasy, Penn State gets a slap on the wrist, no banker goes to jail, and simply pay protection money, mortgage fraud is ignored, Trillions are given away to foreign banks, NDAA, Obamacare etc, etc.

Quinn ignores 911, Mortgage fraud, multiple false flag "shootings," and ineligibility of the POTUS because he is a near sighted little accountant prick who can't see the forest for the trees.


Mon, 11/18/2013 - 12:31 | 4165398 aerojet
aerojet's picture

I'm not saying you're wrong, but the way you present this information makes you come off as a moonbat.  You realize that, right?

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 19:35 | 4167414 MickV
MickV's picture

Simply factual. Tired of mincing words.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 07:30 | 4164475 Hundred Dollar Bonus
Hundred Dollar Bonus's picture

Rahm is trying to chase check into cash places out of Chicago.  Maybe he should add fiat banks to the targets.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 07:33 | 4164477 Sandmann
Sandmann's picture

Funny that it was the retailers who sourced cheap product from Asia and pushed domestic manufacturing offshore and they are now at the end of that cycle having transferred real incomes from customers to rentiers and now dependent on wholesale credit to stay afloat as retail borrowers head for cover.

Economics is big on Cycles and it is amazing how few of the Ruling Elites understand it thinking they have a right to an Annuity Income Stream because they pay themselves so much they believe themselves immortal.

Human Existence is about Decay and that is what the West now experiences because it is harvesting each sign of Renewal to consume like locusts

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 07:57 | 4164495 starfcker
starfcker's picture

think that's funny, wait until real estate resets and all the little brownshirts that have spent the last 7-8 years loading jews into the boxcars (just following orders) for 150 grand a year find out their skill set is really worth 12. BUT YOU PROMISED I COULD RETIRE AT 35 AND GET A HALF MILLION DOLLAR PENSION!! YOU PROMISED!@@

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 12:32 | 4165400 aerojet
aerojet's picture

Not going to be any boxcars this time.  We'll be shooting those little assholes on sight this time.  This...fucking...time!

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 07:47 | 4164485 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

Fun read.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 07:52 | 4164493 etresoi
etresoi's picture

At one time, Norristown produced cigars, tacks, wire, screws, boilers, bolts, silos, tanks, iron, hosiery, knitting machines, underwear, shirts, lumber and milling machinery, paper boxes, rugs and carpets, as well as being a great producer of agricultural produce.

Now, it survives on selling psychotropic meds to to debt slaves, who live in the mcmansions that covered productive farm land.

Twenty years ago, I paddled a canoe across North America, following the path of the Lewis and Clarke expedition.  What I saw convinced me that there was no future in the USA and I emigrated.  Now, one would need to be blind not to see it.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 12:34 | 4165408 aerojet
aerojet's picture

You need to be careful about your own confirmation bias, I suspect.  The US can re-invent itself and its culture, but those things take time, generations, usually.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 14:01 | 4165791 etresoi
etresoi's picture

Thank you, I am generally aware of my bias, which I am in the habit of challenging.

The US always has the poiential to reinvent itself in, as you say, multiple generations.  It will not reinvent, until it hits bottom, which also may take generations.  I am now 70 and am not too concerned with future possibilities.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 08:13 | 4164514 29.5 hours
29.5 hours's picture



"The only people who go into bank branches on a regular basis are old fogeys that don’t trust that new-fangled internet."

Oh? Why wouldn't they trust the internet? It seems totally reasonable to trust banks and their online banking and bill paying. I mean, you give them and participating institutions full access to your accounts but they wouldn't do anything illegal or not in your interests, right?







alright nsa, i did your dirty work now give me back my dog

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 10:17 | 4164831 Toolshed
Toolshed's picture

True, but the gov has always had easy acess to your bank account. Piss off the IRS and you will find out how easyily, quickly, and with little, if any, justification they can seize your account. The internet has nothing to do with the gov's access to your money.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 08:46 | 4164553 22winmag
22winmag's picture

You can blame much of it on the ADA, the ACA,  permit Nazis, and a host of other regulations and regulators.


I'd rather walk on hot coals than attempt to open and operate a the typical small business.



Mon, 11/18/2013 - 09:02 | 4164579 TheFreeLance
TheFreeLance's picture

WFC also charges $6 a month to access an account via Quicken. Pure profit. I am also pretty sure that if you have any sort of substantial balance they sell your info to the highest bidder -- I have no other explanation for why my landline started getting cold-calls from wildcat oil rig operators back when I had a landline.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 09:21 | 4164647 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

They have to have someplace to go and buy their fucking condoms don't they?


Mon, 11/18/2013 - 12:35 | 4165414 aerojet
aerojet's picture

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 09:40 | 4164711 Took Red Pill
Took Red Pill's picture

Good article & observations. I think what you see is typical and not unique to your county in PA. Seeing the same here in MA. Lots of empty retail spaces. Another new bank branch opening in our town soon. We've got more than enough. Same for drug stores. Interestingly about Rite Aid. Maybe about 15 years ago, they left MA. Sold all their stores to a local chain. Then, about 5 years later, they bought the entire local chain back & remodeled all the stores. Great planning! That must have cost $millions! What a waste of money. Money they didn't have.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 10:02 | 4164784 overmedicatedun...
overmedicatedundersexed's picture

why do I feel if you are a national or international co of any type, bank, cat, riteaid,cvs, ge, sears, even are getting support from .fed, zero int loans, or just outright cash..???how do they get free frns, well look at the stock market and if you do not see it, you are obviously an obuma supporter.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 11:10 | 4165090 shermacman
shermacman's picture

In a one mile radius of where I live, six new bank branch offices have opened. I mean offices, not ATM outposts. Fully staffed offices. And they have all moved into store fronts that have gone bust.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 12:08 | 4165298 aerojet
aerojet's picture

Holy shit, dude!


"That percentage will grow as the older generations rapidly die out and are replaced by the techno-narcissists who never leave their family rooms."

While you are right about Millenials being narcissists, you might want to tone that shit down a bit.  I think people get out plenty, they just don't care to waste their free time waiting in line at some zombie bank branch--you definitely nailed that part of the story here.  

I'm not so sure the oldsters are dying off as fast as you think.  If only they would, our issues with promised entitlements would go away.  No sir, I think the huge wave of retirements has yet to hit and I think that's why all this pumping is going on--those people have to retire, it is unavoidable, and what is taking place here, along with a tremendous amount of graft, is a holding action.  They're attempting to pump the markets so that all these millions of people's investments aren't zeroed out at precisely the moment they want to withdraw them.  That the "money" won't buy much of anything is not their concern, only that these people all get exactly what they think they are supposed to get--in other words, "their" money, which is not theirs once it is deposited, of course.  

What we are all finding out in the 21st century is that money is starting to lose its meaning because there is so damn much of it.  It's a hard lesson to take in, and the implications are as yet unknown.


Mon, 11/18/2013 - 12:13 | 4165327 earnyermoney
earnyermoney's picture

I wonder if those bank vaults would make a nice zombie shelter?

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 12:45 | 4165467 AngelEyes00
AngelEyes00's picture

I don't understand why my earlier post was deleted.  It was about multiple car part stores in the same area, and about how rite aid in our area closed a cheap location to buy a newly constructed corner lot building.  Wasn't that on topic?  Please reply so I know what I did wrong - thanks.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 23:12 | 4168241 mkhs
mkhs's picture

Look again.  I saw it.

Mon, 11/18/2013 - 12:49 | 4165487 DaveA
DaveA's picture

Go long autumn olives.  This weedy invasive tree loves sandy, bulldozer-ravaged vacant lots, and can produce half its weight in tart red berries each fall.  Adults prefer to cook them, but little kids eat them raw, like sour candy.

Earlier in the year, these abandoned properties also yield blackberries and black raspberries, so my family enjoys a tasty return on someone else's investment.

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