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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Bank branches were once a staple of neighborhoods across America. Now they are closing by the thousands.

Why it matters: Like the transformation of brick-and-mortar retail, bank branches are trying to evolve from places to buy stuff into places to have an experience.

Driving the news: Most basic banking transactions can easily be accomplished from the couch, leaving 3,400 U.S. branches shuttered over the past 12 months, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

  • In a bid to stay relevant, enter the makeovers. The new locations are more like mass-market wealth management centers without the lux look and feel.

What's happening: These local hubs are morphing into centers for advice — on investments, mortgages, student loans or small business services. That means fewer tellers and more private meeting rooms.

Details: Coffee is big.

  • Capital One rolled out Capital One Cafes, featuring Peet's Coffee shops and lounge areas. The cafe locations offer programs like free money coaching and financial wellness programs, says Shaun Rowley, senior director of Capital One Cafes.
  • Chase Bank has a new "community center" model. These locations host community events, financial health workshops and small business pop-ups. Chase also has a partnership with Joe Coffee in one of its NYC spots.

The intrigue: Even without baristas, banks are changing.

  • Citizens Bank has reduced its overall number of branches, and it's transforming about half the remaining locations to put a focus on advice "in the moments that matter," Bruce Van Saun, CEO of Citizens Financial Group, tells Axios.

Go deeper

The pandemic’s borrowing slowdown

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A phenomenon ushered in by the pandemic is lingering: less borrowing. People are paying down their credit card balances faster, and mom-and-pop shops are holding back on loans. Thank all the stimulus for that.

Why it matters: Government aid left consumers and businesses buoyed with cash, so they aren't turning to banks to borrow nearly as much.

Updated 1 hour ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

⛳️: Golfer Bryson DeChambeau will miss Olympics after testing positive for COVID

📺: The Olympic events to watch today

🏊: Athlete spotlight — When to watch swimming star Katie Ledecky

🥋: Iranian defector defeats Iranian in taekwondo

🤖: The robot Olympics

🚨: Heat wave brings scorching temperatures to Tokyo Olympics

🎤: Meet the new faces of NBC's Olympics coverage

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

Bezos beats Branson in space billionaires' battle for attention

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Imtiyaz Shaikh (Anadolu Agency), Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Jeff Bezos' flight into space generated more interest from the public than Richard Branson's, and both billionaires overshadowed their respective space companies.

Why it matters: Data shows an outsized public interest in the personalities at the center of the space trips, compared to the companies behind them — which could reinforce public suspicion that the ventures were partly vanity plays.