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Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be

There’s a growing lament amongst the few, who are worried our analogue world is crumbling around them. They see the loss of bank branches, high street shops, use of cash and such like as the end of their world. They hate the idea of electric self-driving cars and mourn the fact that vinyl and CDs are no longer a thing. These poor people live in an age of nostalgia where receiving a letter and a check in the post were things they cherished. A handwritten message means so much more than a selfie, and people used to actually talk to each other face-to-face, forget TikTok and Messenger.

It is a world they want to preserve and so every time a company creates an innovation, they squeal with fear. I saw two such squeals just the other day. One was warning that our world would collapse if we stopped using cash; the other talked about bank deserts and no, they don’t mean a pudding, but miles and miles of unbanked territories.

Here’s a taste of the two articles:

UK’s cash system ‘will collapse without new laws’

“Campaigners have called for Chancellor Rishi Sunak to save banknotes and coins, saying without urgent new laws the cash system could collapse within a decade. They want Mr Sunak to take action in his first Budget on 11 March.

“‘We must ensure the shift to digital doesn’t leave millions behind or put our economy at risk,’ said Natalie Ceeney, of the Access to Cash Review. The Treasury said it wanted ‘to ensure everyone who needs cash can access it.’”

Keeping the banking desert at bay in rural America

“When a community’s only bank branch leaves town, the lack of financial services can pose a serious drawback for locals.

“While residents and small businesses may have digital and mobile banking options to turn to when their brick-and-mortar option disappears, they are left with a lack of credit and cash depositing options that make the void especially hard to fill.

“Banks shed 6,764 branches in the U.S., or 7% of the total number, from 2012 to 2017, according to a November report by the Federal Reserve.

“The central bank identified 44 “deeply affected” counties that had 10 or fewer branches in 2012 and lost half or more of them by 2017. Thirty-nine of those counties are rural, the Fed found.

“These banking deserts, where no banks can be found within 10 miles of populated areas​, are becoming increasingly common. Eighty-six new banking deserts were created in rural areas from 2008 to 2016, according to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC).”

Now I know that we need to be careful when we move my grandmother’s, father’s, brother’s or sister’s cheese, but come on. Change happens. It’s just how you manage and deal with such change that is key.

The fact is that cash, checks, bank branches, physical stores, physical music, physical entertainment is declining. It’s all being digitalised. Software is eating the world and you have to deal with it.

Many, especially digital natives, have no concept of what that old physical world of nostalgia was like but I’m pretty sure that if you told them to only watch three TV channels, have no Netflix; talk to friends on a rotary telephone and stop sending messages; go to a bank two or three times a week to get cash and pay-in checks … well, they’d tell you go and take a long walk off a short bridge, or something like that.

And that’s not surprising as this is the year 2020, when we all thought we would have jetpacks on our backs and fly to work. Even that is happening …

… so learn to live with change and embrace it. Change is the only constant. The future is different. Move the cheese and let go of the past. It’s exactly that. Passed.

 

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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