Bank branches, like coffee shops, have become
a ubiquitous part of the American
landscape. In Chicago’s commercial
banking district, twelve banking offices
now dot LaSalle Street between the
Chicago River and the Chicago Fed,
more than double the five coffee shops
along this half-mile stretch.
As of June 30, 2006, Illinois boasted 4,349
banking offices, two-thirds more than
in 1994.2 This aggregate state growth
is unusual, since the number of banking
offices nationwide grew only 23%
between 1994 and 2006. Politicians
in Illinois have begun to take notice.
The City of Chicago amended Chapter
17-3-0504-I of its zoning code in 2004
to require banks to apply for special use
permits to build new banking offices
in certain areas, and several Chicago
suburbs have enacted similar restrictions.
The authors explore
the reasons behind the recent
bank branching boom and discuss