Bank branches have started to become an anachronism, at least to those who believe in the future of electronic banking. People need to walk to physical locations, stand in lines and interact with tellers. Branches cost banks money. Banks pay high rent for prime locations, and they pay people to staff branches. However, 20 banks have pushed against the tide. Among them, they opened a total of 1,000 branches from July 2016 to June 2020.
The figures run through June of this year, but DepositAccounts, which provided the data, said that banks added another 96 branches in July and 72 in August. This happened even though banks closed many branches when the COVID-19 pandemic was worst, varying by parts of the country from March through May, or even July. A resurgence in the disease may trigger another round of shutdowns.
While the move to add branches comes as a surprise, the list of banks that grew matches, in many cases, a list of America’s largest banks. JPMorgan Chase added 371 branches over the period, which put it in the first place. Second, Bank of America opened 89 branches. At sixth on the list, Wells Fargo opened 44.
Many of the other leaders among banks that opened branches are much less well known, at least to people who do not live in the regions where these banks operate. Woodforest National Bank ranked third in branches by adding 66. The privately held bank has its headquarters in The Woodlands, Texas, and has operations in only 17 states.
Regions Bank is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, and operates in the South and Midwest. Ranked fourth on the list, it opened 61 branches over the period.
The future of bank branches remains murky. Every bank of any size in the country has built a sophisticated online presence. Customers can handle basic bank functions and, in many cases, apply for loans and run businesses. Foot traffic could drop because of this, but clearly it has not declined enough to cause wholesale branch shutdowns.
These 20 banks opened over 1,000 branches among them from July 2016 until June 2020.
|Bank||Opened 7/19 to 6/20||Total Opened|
|JPMorgan Chase Bank||183||371|
|Bank of America||34||89|
|Woodforest National Bank||25||66|
|Wells Fargo Bank||8||44|
|First National Bank Texas||14||40|
|Huntington National Bank||0||35|
|First Citizens Bank||9||25|
|Fifth Third Bank||11||24|
|First State Bank||5||17|