America has likely already seen the peak number of retail bank branches there will ever be, as a shrinking industry, consolidation and electronic banking undermine the need for physical locations.
With these trends in mind, growth-happy Bank of America (BAC) is set to close 10% of its 6100 retail branches, reports WSJ.
Mr. Lewis discussed the plans during a meeting Thursday in the bank’s hometown of Charlotte, N.C., according to people familiar with the conversation. Liam McGee, president of Bank of America’s consumer and small-business bank, also said branch closures are in the works but added it would be premature to specify how many locations could be closed, these people said.
The driving force for the closings is changing customer preferences, Mr. McGee said, according to these people, as online and mobile banking take transactions away from traditional branches. Messrs. Lewis and McGee didn’t say when the shutterings would occur, these people said. Neither executive was available for comment Monday, and a Bank of America spokesman wouldn’t discuss the matter.
Of course this will have follow-on effects, including the loss of yet-more jobs, and the loss of over 600 steady ground-floor tenants at strip malls and other commercial real estate projects around the country. But, considering how rarely one needs to go into any physical bank these days, it’s probably a good move.
When you select your next bank, are you going to worry about who’s close to you, or are you going to go with the former-GMAC “Ally” because they have the cute commercials with the kids?
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