Times are changing and the days when the East Coast was considered the main hub of the U.S. financial services industry may be over. Technology, sometimes to the point of industry disruption, is impacting how investment brokerages and other firms conduct their business. This means that companies can work remotely and are no longer tethered to traditional metro areas like New York City or Boston. While brokerages will likely not completely leave these cities, they can and are establishing new offices in a range of other places.
Added to this, there are a host of entirely new startup financial companies which use technology in innovative ways. As emerging companies, they don’t want to pay the premium rents and elevated cost of doing business that come with better-known cities. They’re eager to grow roots in new locations with talented employees and lower overhead. With this in mind, here’s a list of US cities that are becoming known for growth in the finance sector. These aren’t found where you’d expect them to be but they’re worth watching.
Growing: The West and Midwest regions
With a pool of educated workers drawn to urban amenities, Western cities like Denver, Colorado, and Phoenix, Arizona are attracting their share of financial services companies. These metropolitan areas boast a lower cost of doing business, lower cost of living for employees, and great recreational access to the outdoors.
Midwestern cities are also becoming a draw for financial services companies. For example, Omaha, Nebraska, nicknamed “Silicon Prairie,” is known for tax incentives, networking activities, and attractive living costs. Another Midwest hub, the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul in Minnesota, contains over $509 billion in banking assets. Additionally, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma maintains a strong reputation for being business-friendly and Colombus, Ohio is known for its cosmopolitan quality of life, access to Fortune 500 companies, and low cost of living.
Areas to watch: California
Some companies want easier access to Silicon Valley without being located directly inside the tech hub. That may be why areas of California, like San Mateo and Irvine, are attracting their fair share of the financial services sector. Ultimately, some of these cities are likely to be considered an extension of Silicon Valley itself.
Other California metro areas maintain strong ties to financial services. This includes San Fransisco which can offset high costs with a strong quality of life and proximity to major U.S. corporations. The “Silicon Beach” area just west of Los Angeles is another hub to watch out for. It is home to more than 500 tech startup companies in need of attention from the finance industry.
Superstar growth: The South
The Southern region as a whole has seen strong growth in the financial services sector. At the top of the list is Charlotte, North Carolina. It is the home of Bank of America and more than $2.27 trillion in banking assets as of 2017. It is commonly considered the second or third largest financial hub in the U.S.
Other southern financial giants include Atlanta, Georgia, and Nashville, Tennesee. These giants have a history of business-friendly practices that have lured many Fortune 500 companies in need of service from the finance-focused enterprises.
Superstar growth: Texas
For the past decade, Texas has been one of the hottest relocation destinations for financial services companies. Since 2010, the Dallas/Plano/Irving area, known as “Y’all Street,” has grown to become one of the largest financial services hubs in the country. Adding in nearby Fort Worth, Texas only enlarges the concentration of financial services businesses in that region.
Other Texas cities, including Austin and San Antonio, have felt the bump from Texas’ success in wooing finance business. These cities’ quality of life and low cost of living for middle managers only makes them more attractive for companies to move to in the future.