Pruning Bank Branches

by Gerri Willis

 

You may want to bank offshore when you see what's happening to banks in this country. The Great Recession has kicked off a huge wave of bank closures as interest rates remained low and more customers turned to online banking.

According to SNL Financial, nearly 2,300 bank branches were shut last year alone, and the firm expects another 13,000 to disappear over the coming decade.

This is the result of more and more Americans turning to their computers instead of their neighborhood teller to do their banking. 53% compared to 14%. That's leading to major cost cutting measures at these banks.

Associated Bank in Wisconsin says for every branch it closes, the company saves $300,000. That's a lot of money considering one third of the nation's bank branches are unprofitable.

While smaller communities and suburbs are the ones hardest hit by these closures, it's not just the small regional banks shutting their doors.

Bank of America, the nation's second biggest bank, closed nearly 200 branches as part of its plan to shut 12% of its brick-and-mortars over the next few years.

PNC bank closed just 54 last year, but plans to shut 200 more in 2013.

Look... you may miss the days when in order to take money out of your account you headed to the local bank and gossiped with your neighbors. But, this is the new reality, just as it is for the post office.

People are banking online as much as they're sending messages that way.