Saturday, September 22, 2007

Banks Over Broadway: My Own Personal Liechtenstein

Prior to recent changes in European banking law that diminished its role as a tax and regulation shelter, I'd been told that you knew when you entered Liechtenstein because bank branches began immediately at the border. (A bit like casinos in Nevada, gun shops in Maryland, and fireworks stands in Missouri.)

The same principle applies in my neighborhood. When you visit me, the immediate, overwhelming presence of banks will indicate that you're getting close. I live in a retail banking Liechtenstein.

Until a few months ago, there was Ann Taylor store at the corner of Broadway & 87th. Some weeks back, construction workers began toiling away at the site, combining the vacant space with the space next door. Today, as we walked down Broadway, Steph asked a construction worker what was going to occupy this new, enlarged location.

"It's going to be a Bank of America."

Cue Claude Raines. I'm shocked, shocked that another bank is popping up on Broadway.

A recent Congressional report (.pdf link) on limited access to banking for the poorest New Yorkers reported that in 2006 the Upper West Side had one bank for every 7,000 residents. However, the same report also counted 11 banks on the Upper West Side. Today, I count 8 banks in one 8 block stretch of one street on the Upper West Side. (Traditionally, the "Upper West Side" has referred to the 250+ blocks to the immediate west of Central Park.) Somethings tells me that there are far, far more than 11 banks on the Upper West Side as of this writing.

The New York Times has covered the recent bank branch explosion, and is predicting a slow down in branch creation. Thank goodness. I'm bank-overloaded.

(The interactive map below may not work on all browsers. If you don't see My Own Personal Liechtenstein, click here or on the image at the bottom of this post.)

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1 comment:

Adam P. said...

You know its bad when I was bemoaning the closing last year of the 102nd St and Bdwy starbucks to be replaced by... an HSBC branch.