Eeek! More Banks

Today’s Washington Post carries a story decrying the growth of bank branches in the District of Columbia. Reporter Paul Schwartzman writes:

District officials initiated a campaign this year to lure A-list retail to Washington, places that would keep residents from trekking to the suburbs to splurge. But their vision of a shopper’s paradise is running headlong into a reality that has emerged at cosmopolitan corners across the country: a proliferation of bank branches.

So why is this bad? Obviously some people like having bank branches and the banks are simply meeting demand. And while a bank might not do as much to make a neighborhood “cool,” it’s likely to get use from a lot more people than a so-trendy-it-hurts cafe. The bank, unlike the cafe, furthermore, is almost certain to lend to residents and businesses near where it has quarters and, thus, improve its neighborhood directly. And, anyway, why should the “District officials” play any role (besides general booster) in deciding what businesses do and don’t come into the city?

By the way, I couldn’t care less for branch banking myself: It has been eight years since I last had a primary checking account at a non-Internet bank.