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Bank Branch Numbers Going Down

The U.S. lost 281 branch locations during Q1 of 2014, according to research from SNL Financial.

U.S. banks shuttered more branches than they opened during the first quarter of 2014, according to new research from SNL Financial, continuing a trend prevalent through all of 2013 as consumers increasingly move toward digital channels.

According to the research, banks collectively reduced their branch count by 281 locations during the first quarter, roughly on par with the reduction of 276 branches during the final quarter of 2013. Over the course of the past four quarters, banks scaled back by more than 1,500 branches.

By state, Illinois, Arkansas and Pennsylvania were home to the greatest reductions of branch counts in the first quarter, the research found. Florida, Nebraska and Massachusetts were the only states to finish the first quarter with net openings of more than one.

By metropolitan area, Greater Chicago; Little Rock, Ark.; and Philadelphia saw the highest levels of net closures, SNL reported.

"In addition to the shift toward online banking, mergers and acquisitions have played a role in branch consolidation," the SNL report further explained. "Following acquisitions, buyers typically push hard for cost savings by selling or closing targets' branches that are near their own. Chicago, for one, has been home to several bank deals in the current cycle — both open-bank and FDIC-assisted deals — helping to explain the decline in branches there."

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Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio

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