Of the many societal changes that the COVID crisis has sparked or accelerated, one of the most powerful – and surprising – has been its effect on where Americans live. What’s being called the “Great Reshuffling” is widespread. As Pew Research reports, nearly one in five people have moved since the beginning of the pandemic.
Some of these moves were spurred by changes in the job market as layoffs meant people relocated for new jobs and as work from home policies allowed people to untether where they live and work. But many of these moves have been an intentional shift that’s reversing a decades-long trend toward urbanization. As lockdowns lingered on, many people – especially Gen Z and younger Millennials – began to see the value of more living space. Now, Zillow and Yelp are reporting more demand for moving services and homes in smaller cities and suburbs, reaching record highs.
While residential markets are red hot – buoyed by low mortgage interest rates – the commercial real estate sector is facing pandemic-related changes of its own. Office and retail real estate are seeing increased vacancies across the country, and a ‘wave of foreclosures’ are expected to drop commercial prices into 2021 in advance of a longer-term recovery.
These dual trends present a wealth of opportunities for financial institutions. As corridors of living and working shift, branch network optimization is key to leveraging a bank or credit union’s ability to meet consumers where they are – and where they’ll soon be. Mass population movement also means more opportunity for new customer acquisition, as a move is still the primary trigger for people to switch banks. More favorable pricing and leasing terms in urban centers may provide opportunities to expand into top-tier urban markets that many community banks and credit unions have historically been priced out of.
To learn more about what your bank or credit union can capitalize on the opportunities of a changing consumer landscape through branch network optimization, email firstname.lastname@example.org.