BY DEB STEWART
The need for physical branches is in decline.
Coping involves more than just figuring out which
ones to shutter. It means figuring out the highest
and best use for each remaining facility.
HERE ARE THE DISTRESSING FACTS: More than 2,600 U.S. bank branches closed last year, with most large banks contributing heavily to that total. These
actions included the following:
m;Bank of America closed nearly 150 branches last year, ac-
cording to CNBC television.
m;PNC Bank, Pittsburgh, has closed 240 branches since 2013.
Most of those cuts came in 2014 when 190 locations were
m;JPMorgan Chase Bank recently announced it is closing about
300 branches ( 5 percent of its total) in an effort to trim costs,
Bloomberg reports. JPMorgan also slashed its number of
ATMs by 12 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014.
European banks between 2013 and 2020 are expected to close
40 percent of their branches—meaning 65,000 fewer branches,
according to the consultancy Bain & Company, Boston. U.S.
banks are expected to have 20 percent fewer branches by 2020,
with the trend accelerating after that, according to the white
paper, “Retail Banking 2020: Evolution or Revolution?” by
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), New York.
And it’s not just the number of branches that is being cut,
PwC cites that the average number of branch full-time employees
has been reduced from 13 per branch in 2004 to an average of
less than six today.