Construction of Bank Branches Finally Slowing Down

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

You remember that episode in

The Simpsons

where the enthusiastic and forward-looking evil genius Hank Scorpio gives Homer a job in his spiffy and fun Globex Corporation and the family moves to that sparkling Pacific Northwest-looking town? And Scorpio’s company shows Marge that documentary about life there, wherein various signifiers of urban blight – bums, abandoned buildings and the like – all magically change into coffee bars?

Houston’s branch-bank invasion of recent years reminded me a little of that, only the banks were replacing things that were, all too often, pretty cool. It was dismaying to see locally-owned pizza places razed in favor of yet another WaMu; beloved dive bars/live-music institutions like the Gallant Knight replaced by yet another outpost of Wachovia/CapOne/Chase/BoA.

Wasn’t online banking supposed to destroy face-to-face banking? Why has the Internet only destroyed cool retail, like record stores?

Last year, 107 new bank branches went up in Houston alone, placing this region second behind only New York, the Houston Business Journal reported this week. Statewide, from 2004-2007, 1,630 new bank branches were built; from 2000-2003, that number was “only” 918.

This year’s number? Through the first seven months, only 122 have gone up.

Which is still way too many. After all, Sam Houston himself once wrote that his third guiding principle, behind only his love of his country and his constitution, was “an eternal hostility and opposition to all banks.”

Say it again, Sam. – John Nova Lomax

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.