Trend of bank branch closings continues


The net closing of bank branches continues a mutliquarter trend, according to SNL Financial, which finds a net loss of 390 locations in Q3 as more customers do more routine banking business online, and banks - in a sluggish revenue environment - look to the low-hanging fruit of shuttering underperforming stores. The 390 figure is about inline with Q2, but higher than prior reads.

"There's almost nobody in the branches," says bank consultant Jim Adkins. "You could shoot water balloons all over the place and not hit anybody."

In addition to costs and technology, there's also M&A, and one of the first things to be done after an acquisition is to close overlapping branches.

Leading the way in terms of net closings in Q3 were SunTrust (STI) and Bank of America (BAC). Not getting in the spirit of things is JPMorgan (JPM) which opened more branches than it closed in Q3.

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