This crisis is now manifesting in the closure of local bank branches across the city.
As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, the city is witnessing an unprecedented wave of bank branch closures. Data from the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency reveals that 20 branches have been closed citywide as of October 28. These closures, spanning from the central Richmond District to Mission Bay, and from Fort Mason to Bayview, surpass the combined total of the previous two years. This marks the highest number of closures in a single year since the turn of the century.
The banking sector's contraction is not limited to San Francisco. Across California, 277 bank branches have shut their doors this year alone. This figure is second only to the 325 closures recorded in 2020. Conversely, branch openings are a rare occurrence, with only eight reported statewide this year.
Several factors are contributing to this trend. Some closures are tied to high-profile crises, such as the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank earlier this year. Others are a result of the shift towards online banking and industry consolidation.
However, a significant number of closures in San Francisco are linked to the ongoing exodus of retail businesses. Many of these businesses, worn down by persistent shoplifting, have been forced to close. The city's commercial hub has also struggled to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, as remote work became the norm for many tech companies.
The city's affordability crisis has also played a role. Many residents have relocated to more cost-effective cities, and a large number of daily commuters have opted to work from home, further straining local businesses.