Banks closing more branches than they’re opening

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(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

The practice of pulling up to a bank’s drive-thru or parking and going inside to make a transaction may have seen its better days in many areas.

Bank of America, Wells Fargo, PNC and others are closing more branches than they are opening, according to CNN Money, citing research at SNL Financial, which specializes in banking data.

BOA opened 12 branches across the country last year and closed 256, SNL said. Wells Fargo opened 19 but closed 80, and PNC opened 32 but closed 82.

Overall, banks closed 2,267 branches last year and opened 1,149, for a net loss of 1,118 branch locations. SNL said it was the highest level of branch closings since 2005.

More customers are banking online with the growth in mobile devices and tablets. That helps eliminate the need for an oversupply of branches, which have to be staffed and maintained. Banks also aren’t making much money of low interest loans and have to deal with costly regulation, which are other incentives to save money by closing branches that don’t have high traffic, according to the CNN Money report.

How much do you rely on bricks-and-mortar bank branches, or is all of your banking done online these days?

22 comments Add your comment

Sea PA

January 25th, 2013
2:58 pm

Taxpayers have paid a huge cost to keep increasing Banking Executives bloated salaries for far too long in the name of competition. Banking is one of the few businesses where you can be unprofitable, loose capital, and still get pay increases. The government may as well consolidate and nationalize all the banks, leave the S&Ls and credit unions to serve the needs of consumers.


January 25th, 2013
3:07 pm

I still need to go into the bank to make deposits and get rolls of quarters. Sometimes when something comes up, I go into a bank to talk to someone face to face rather than deal with a phone call ; it’s faster to talk to someone than wait on the phone.


January 25th, 2013
3:38 pm

How many jobs were lost?


January 25th, 2013
3:45 pm

I can’t remember the last time I walked into my bank. If I have a deposit, I can now snap a photo of it and deposit it electronically via my mobile phone. I can transfer funds between my accounts via my phone. I can’t think of any reason I’d need to go inside my bank.


January 25th, 2013
3:54 pm

It’s Bush’s fault !


January 25th, 2013
4:10 pm

I moved to a credit union 4 years ago and couldn’t be happier. They have saved me so much money.

Harry Toothaker

January 25th, 2013
4:41 pm

Perhaps we will digitize ourselves into even higher unemployment. Seems like technology destroys more jobs than it creates. Perhaps ditch diggers know something we don’t.


January 25th, 2013
4:43 pm

I’m going to assume that you meant, “Banks AREN’T making much money OFF low interest loans…”

Brian in VR

January 25th, 2013
4:48 pm

Sea PA. Are you crazy? Nationalizing the banks? If you knew anything about government loan programs you would see what more government would look like in the industry. Are you as outraged over six figure salaries for public sector employees and union cronies? By the way, “lose” has only one “L”. “Loose” would only be used to describe the screw that is loose in someone’s head to think that a government takeover of banks is a good idea.


January 25th, 2013
5:00 pm

I work in a SunTrust branch and it’s been DEAD in the branches so far. I feel like, in an effort to make things more convenient for clients, banks have shot themselves in the foot, because we still have numbers to hit, but the people aren’t coming in unless they have a problem with their account. So as a result, the bank is making the employees call clients in an effort to get more business. You can imagine how much our clients LOVE that.


January 25th, 2013
5:01 pm

*so far this year

Relationship Expert

January 25th, 2013
5:17 pm

I go into the bank to access my safe deposit box. Otherwise, I avoid the long lines (inside, drive thru, and even the ATMs) like the plague.


January 25th, 2013
5:39 pm

PNC bought both RBC & Flagstar in Atlanta. many times those two banks were near each other, and so closing one while keeping the other open made perfect sense. Otherwise in many cases you would have the same bank right next door to one another. If you’re gonna right an article like this, you need to tell the whole story.

long time banker

January 25th, 2013
5:46 pm

Sea PA you have no clue what you are talking about. All major banks have not only paid back all money lent by the government but paid a signifigant amount back in intrist. The money lent from the government did not pay salaries of top executive. It paid for people to keep their homes. If you do your research you will see that the reason for the financial melt down that started in 2007 & 2008 was due to investors in Asia who thought they could make signifigant profits on the US booming real estate bubble from the 90’s and early 00’s. The Asain economy crashed and those investors pulled out of the us market causing over leverged investments to fail. The need for tradition banks or financial centers will never go away. There is to large of a need for people who may have customer service needs, small business owners who need to be able to operate there daily expenses, the need for people to purchase homes, cars and other lending needs. Banker ( the suntrust you may be working at may not be getting clients because the employees are to lazy to go out and generate business. If you walk into any BOA, Wells, Suntrust there is always a 10 minute wait. A lot of the larger banks are starting to see less people especialy in Atlanta because there are more options in town like Ffth Third Bank, PNC, and a lot more local community banks. People demand good service and if your Suntrust branch isn’t providing that people will go else were!!!!

Taxpayer X

January 25th, 2013
6:02 pm

Do what you gotta do to make it work, it’s not responsibility to keep these things open if they’re not viable anymore. These people are gonna have to find work elsewhere, it’s only a matter of time before a machine comes along and pushes them out anyway.

david c

January 25th, 2013
6:20 pm

What a shame. For the employees.

david c

January 25th, 2013
6:22 pm

Apparently Taxpayer X is not trying to get by on minimum wage, 20 hour work weeks with no benefits. Or, just enjoys the Government subsidies.


January 25th, 2013
9:29 pm

I still like to transact most of my banking @ the local branch. We’re being pushed to conduct more of our financial business over the internet at the same time hackers are having a field day stealing our personal information…makes no sense to me.

The Master Baker

January 26th, 2013
5:17 am

Chase is bucking this trend opening large number of branches in my area (Tampa). Will be interesting to see how that works for them in light of what other banks are doing.


January 26th, 2013
7:21 pm

One of the reasons the late, unlamented First Union died was due to astonishingly poor customer service — towards the end, you would go into a bank and if you had a question that was more complex than “What is my balance?” they would point you towards a “service phone” so that you could call the mother ship and pose your question. I didn’t need to drive a couple of miles to use the phone.

I feel sorry for the branch employees — for the most part, they are not empowered to make any real decisions. I can’t remember the last time I went in with a small problem and the person I was talking to still had to call someone else on the phone to get an ok, an authorization, etc.

Nethea Rhinehardt

January 29th, 2013
5:29 pm

I make deposits using my smartphone. I can give money to friends or family via PopMoney & PayPal. I can open/close accounts, move money around without having to leave the house.

I haven’t been to a bank branch in AGES!!!


January 29th, 2013
6:16 pm

@DB. I was a loyal First Union customer. I did experience the phone in the lobby service. But as far as I know, First Union did not die. Merged with Wachovia, and the decided to use the Wachovia name. Then taken over by Wells Fargo. I still have my original First Union account numbers. So far so good with Wells Fargo.