The number of banks in the United States decreased by 70% from 14,496 to 4,377 between 1984 and 2020, according to a study by the Saint Louis Federal Reserve.
“Even though, on balance, more than 10,000 banks disappeared during the period, the number of disappearances in any year never reached 600 banks or 5% of the total,” notes the study. “Instead, the decline has been remarkably steady in percentage terms.”
However since 2015 bank failures and new-bank entries have almost ceased, leading to a decline in total numbers due to a continuing trend towards mergers.
“Despite a historically low number of bank failures in recent years, the slow and steady decline in bank numbers continues,” noted the report. “This is because few new banks are being chartered, and banks continue to merge with one another, reducing the number of charters.”
According to one unofficial source there were 173 bank mergers in 2021, representing approximately 4% of extant banks at the time.
Courtesy Saint Louis Federal Reserve/by William R. Emmons