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Bank branches get extreme makeover

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.

The push for a "PBS for the internet"

The concept of a new media ecosystem that's non-profit, publicly funded and tech-infused is drawing interest in policy circles as a way to shift the power dynamics in today's information wars.

Why it matters: Revamping the structure and role of public media could be part of the solution to shoring up local media, decentralizing the distribution of quality news, and constraining Big Tech platforms' amplification of harmful or false information.

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U.S. women's soccer team loses to Canada, ending chances at gold

The U.S. women's soccer team lost 1-0 to eighth-ranked Canada in the Olympics semifinals on Monday, ending its chances at winning a gold medal in Tokyo.

Why it matters: The loss marks the second straight Olympics the U.S. team will not play in the gold medal match. The team was knocked out by Sweden in the quarterfinals during the Rio Games in 2016.

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Reading the tea leaves ahead of Boston's historic mayoral race

For the first time in history, a white man is not in serious contention to be the next mayor of Boston, a city with a checkered racial history.

Why it matters: The face of Democratic Party politics has changed, with more women and people of color running and winning races. As high-profile races like Boston's — and New York's — attract multiple people of color in a primary, some candidates say that allows for more ideological diversity, as well.

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Rising gasoline prices signal trouble for climate change action

Cutting oil production before we cut our demand for oil could undermine much of the progress that needs to be made on climate change.

Why it matters: If companies cut back on producing oil but consumers don’t cut back on consuming it, demand will exceed supply and prices will shoot up. That’s bad for our pocketbooks and risks the transition to cleaner energy.

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Elite trans athletes decry youth sports bans

TOKYO — While transgender inclusion in elite sports presents some challenging issues, bans on participation in youth sports are simply about hate and cruelty, several top trans athletes told Axios this week.

The big picture: Lawmakers in more than half of the states have considered such bans, and they have been signed into law in at least eight states, though legal challenges remain.

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The case for global warming realism, rather than panic

It’s getting harder and harder to communicate the two essential realities of human-caused climate change: that our failure to slow and eventually stop it is contributing to devastating human suffering all over the world, and that it’s not too late to act.

The big picture: Experts have long told climate communicators —including scientists, journalists and politicians — that disaster porn immobilizes people, leaving them cowering in a corner. You've got to give them a sense of hope, the research shows.

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Simone Biles will compete in her final Olympic event

Simone Biles will compete in the Olympic individual balance beam final, her last event of the Tokyo Games, USA Gymnastics announced Monday.

What's happening: "We are so excited to confirm that you will see two U.S. athletes in the balance beam final tomorrow — Suni Lee AND Simone Biles!! Can’t wait to watch you both!" USA Gymnastics tweeted.

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In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 10 highlights

Day 10 of the Tokyo Olympic Games saw Puerto Rico bag its first-ever track gold medal when Jasmine Camacho-Quinn beat American world record holder Kendra Harrison to win the women’s 100-meter hurdles Monday.

The big picture: There was better news for Team USA in the basketball, where the women's national team beat France 93-82 — meaning the Americans are entering the medal round undefeated as they go for yet another gold, Axios' Ina Fried reports from Tokyo. France still advanced to the quarterfinals as well.

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