This paper was published as a Faculty Working Paper (no. 226) for the Lubin School of Business, Center for Applied Research, February 2007.

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The commercial banking industry in the United States has experienced consistent consolidation over the last two decades, yet the number of bank branches has continued to rise each year, reaching over 80,000 in 2006. This paper explores the pattern of branch growth and seeks to explain its continued expansion as a distribution channel, when competing against Internet banking, ATM access, and various other forms of supplying financial products and services to the U.S. population