The number of branches in the U.S. shrank by more than 1,700 in the 12 months ended in June 2017, the biggest decline on record, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of federal data. Branch numbers fell again in the second half of 2017, as they leave less profitable regions and fewer customers use tellers for routine transactions. That would add to the thousands of locations closed following the financial crisis, and is the longest stretch of closures since the Great Depression.
According to the Wall Street Journal, many of the closings were in big cities and surrounding suburbs, where branches were consolidated largely because of falling foot traffic. Others were in rural areas, where some large regional lenders are leaving town altogether. Banks say they carefully consider which branches to close, examining deposit levels at each branch and commute time to the nearest location. For decades, banks needed to add new locations to grow, pushing the number of U.S. branches to a peak in 2009. But in the aftermath of the financial crisis, some started closing branches to save money—and then kept closing them to contend with low interest rates and higher regulatory costs.
For the full article from the Wall Street Journal, click here.