More than 200 banks went away in 2019, Fed reports, along with nearly 1,200 branches

There was a net reduction of 211 banks nationwide at the end of last year compared with year-end 2018, the Federal Reserve reported Friday, and a net reduction of 1,182 branches and additional offices over the same time period.

In its 2019 Annual Report (which covers only Federal Reserve 2019 operations and activities, the agency pointed out, and thus does not include information on the Fed’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic), the Fed noted that 20 new banks were chartered, and 1,111 new branches were created.

But those additions were swamped by the number of banks (which includes commercial and savings banks) and branches that went away during last year. The Fed said that 31 banks ceased banking operations in 2019, along with 2,493 bank branches. At the same time, 200 banks were converted into bank branch offices.

At the end of last year, the Fed stated, there were 4,753 banks nationwide.

The Fed report also shows a net reduction of 169 banks affiliated with bank holding companies (BHC) during 2019. There were 28 BHC-affiliated new banks during the year; however, also last year, 170 of the BHC-affiliated banks converted into branches, while another 27 ceased operations.

Overall, at year’s end, there were 4,029 banks affiliated with BHCs.

Other nuggets quarried from the 400-page annual report include:

  • Total Federal Reserve Bank credit outstanding at year-end 2019 was $4.155 trillion, up about 2.9% from 2018; the vast majority of that was held in securities “held outright,” for $3.7 trillion at year’s end.
  • The Fed listed 39 rules or guidance it issued in 2019, including, the agency said, “significant progress to implement provisions of the EGRRCPA” (the 2018 Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act [EGRRCPA, S.2155, regulatory relief legislation]). The Fed said that working with the other federal banking agencies, it has “implemented all of the major provisions of EGRRCPA.”

Federal Reserve 106th Annual Report (2019)