Fidelity to close three Walmart branches

01/28/2012 5:00 AM

01/28/2012 6:56 AM

Fidelity Bank will not renew leases on three of the seven in-store branches it operates in area Walmarts, officials of the $1.6-billion-asset bank said Friday.

April 30 will be the last day of business for Fidelity’s Walmart branch at 11411 E. Kellogg, said Fidelity spokesman Al Sanchez. Fidelity customers will be receiving letters about the pending closure of that branch, which were mailed out Friday, he said.

Later this summer, Fidelity will wind down its Walmart branches at 2020 Southeast Boulevard in Derby and 3030 N. Rock Road in Wichita, Sanchez said. All of the employees at the affected branches will be transferred to the bank’s other branches, he said.

“We do research among our customers, track customers’ usage trends and they want us to focus … on more convenient options,” Sanchez said, such as online banking, ATMs and mobile banking. He said Fidelity is looking at expanding its hours and days at its 12 standalone branches in Sedgwick County.

“We’re following where our customers are leading us and our research tells us to go,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez emphasized that the bank has a good relationship with Wal-Mart and wants to maintain that. He noted that Fidelity will continue to operate its in-store branches at four other Walmarts: 5475 N. Meridian, 10600 W. 21st St., 6110 W. Kellogg and 501 E. Pawnee.

Fidelity began operating in-store Walmart branches in 1997. That venue allowed the bank to distinguish itself in the market by operating on Sundays. Sanchez and Katie Grover, the bank’s brand manager, said the bank will consider offering alternative operating hours at its other branches and, perhaps Sunday hours.

“We don’t have a timetable,” Sanchez said. “We’ll be making decisions on that in the coming months.”

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