Are You Sure You Want To Invest More In Bank Branches?

In its investor presentation regarding its acquisition of ING Direct, Capital One included the following slide:

Capital One slide: Customer Distribution Channel Penetration 1980-2009

My take: Are you sure you want to invest more in your bank branches?

June 17 UPDATE: For kicks, I thought it would be interesting to see where the lines would go if the trends extended out to 2011:

Capital One slide: Customer Distribution Channel Penetration 1980-2011


  • Percentage of consumers banking at a branch (at least once in prior 12 months) dropped nearly 30 percentage points since the beginning of the century.
  • The growth rate in online banking leveled off in the mid-90s, then jumped in early 2000s. Why? My guess: The first crop of Gen Yers reaching adulthood.
  • The debit card percentage is misleading. Nine of ten checking account households might have a debit card, but that doesn’t mean that nine of ten uses a debit card.
  • There’s something wrong with these estimates. Why? The numbers I’ve seen from various sources suggests that the percentage of US households that are unbanked is anywhere from 5% to 15%. Even at the low end, that means that 100% of US households could not have been banking in a branch throughout the 80s and into the 90s. I think the chart would have been appropriately labeled “Percent of U.S. banking households.”


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