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Rise of online finance pushes banks to cut branches worldwide

56,000 locations closed in 100 countries over the past decade

U.K.-based Revolut is among the virtual banks encroaching on the turf of traditional financial institutions.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Banks around the world have significantly scaled back their bricks-and-mortar infrastructure, as the growing popularity of low-cost online banking forces a rethink of their business model.

The number of physical bank branches in roughly 100 countries with comparable data has dropped by 56,000, or 14%, over the past 10 years, according to International Monetary Fund data on commercial banks. The U.S. shed 1,500 in 2020 alone, while bank-heavy Italy dropped 800.

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