Banks add 7 branches, close 31 in Kansas

07/26/2012 5:00 AM

07/27/2012 6:58 AM

Banks opened seven branches but closed 31 others in Kansas in the past 12 months, according to a report released Thursday by SNL Financial.

The report, which examined branch openings and closings between July 1, 2011, and June 30, 2012, said that during the yearlong period, banks and thrifts opened 1,234 branches across the county and closed 2,001.

Pennsylvania led the nation with 83 net closures — 36 openings and 119 closings — while California was tops for more openings than closures, with a net gain of 22 branches.

Regionally, the Kansas City Metropolitan Statistical Area was among 10 MSAs with the most branch closures. During the period, eight branches were opened while 21 were closed in the Kansas City area, the report said.

Bank of America had the most closures among the nation’s banks and thrifts in the period. It opened six branches and closed 163.

JPMorgan Chase had the most openings: 253, compared with 34 closings, for a net of 219 branch openings.

“In a lot of ways there’s kind of dichotomy at the top,” said David Hayes, a senior analyst at Virginia-based SNL and co-author of the report.

The Bank of America numbers reflect the bank’s previously announced plan to shed hundreds of branches across the country either through direct closures or sales of individual branches, he said. On the other hand, the similarly sized JPMorgan is building out its branch network.

“I do think it is odd you have the two largest banks going in different directions,” Hayes said.

But the reasons for the majority of branch closures are mostly that banks are facing costs pressures in a low-interest-rate, high-regulation environment, and they are finding that more customers are accepting other ways to access them, such as through mobile devices and ATMs, Hayes said.

“In reality, the face-to-face interaction (at the branch) is becoming less necessary,” he said.

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