U.S. Bank will close more than 300 branches over the next two years as it adapts to the changing ways that people get services from it and other financial companies, executives said.
The nation’s fifth-largest bank was constrained for several years from making changes to its 3,000 branches by a regulatory review of anti-money laundering practices.
That constraint ended late last year and executives have since developed more detailed plans to optimize the branch network, which stretches across 25 states in the Midwest and West.
During a discussion of quarterly results Wednesday, Andy Cecere, the company’s chief executive, told analysts Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp would open some new branches, remodel many and close several hundred. “The net of it will be down 10 % to 15 %,” he said, or 300 to around 450.
His comments marked the first time executives had publicly stated a number for the long-expected reduction.
Executives don’t have a precise number because, in some cases, closings could be accompanied by openings. For instance, two branches that are close to each other may both be closed while a new one is opened that is designed and staffed differently than the existing ones.
Like many banks, U.S. Bank is seeing both business and consumer customers use digital tools, such as computers and smartphones, more and more for banking services. Last summer, the company passed a milestone when it said more than half its customers interacted with the bank through digital devices.
Terry Dolan, U.S. Bank’s chief financial officer, on Wednesday said about one-third of its loans during the first three months of the year were transacted through its website and digital apps.
About three out of four mortgage applications occurred that way. As a result, the firm sees customers in branches less frequently than before.
Wells Fargo & Co., the nation’s No. 3 bank, has announced plans to close about 800 branches this year and next. It will still have more than 5,000 nationwide after the downsizing. Bank of America, the No. 2 bank after JPMorgan Chase, expects to add about 350 branches as it overhauls its current network of 4,300 during the next two years.
In addition to restructuring its branch network, U.S. Bank will expand into new markets, chiefly in the southern U.S., such as Texas and Florida, with a “branch-lite” strategy that involves placing relatively few branches in a locale. Several regional banks have adopted similar methods to expand into new markets in recent years.
Dolan said U.S. Bank will add more ATMs around the country as it reduces branches. “That provides more outlets for people to be able to access their accounts,” he said.