TheU.S. saw 289 net bank and thrift branch closures in the first quarter, closing500 branches and opening 211. There were 92,639 bank branches at the end of thefirst quarter, 1,637 fewer than a year earlier, according to an analysis by SNLFinancial, an offering of S&P Global Market Intelligence.
With52 net closings, CitigroupInc. was the leading branch closer in the first quarter. Over thepast four quarters, the bank had 80 net branch closures.
Speakingduring the March 8 RBC Capital Markets Financial Institutions Conference, CitiCFO John Gerspach said the company will continue closing branches both in theU.S. and in other countries as part of its effort to achieve its targetefficiency ratio. "We put out the goal of operating Citicorp with amid-50% efficiency ratio about three yearsago and I think that's still a good near-term goal. We got close to that in2015 operating at 57%, but there's still more to go," Gerspach said,according to a transcript.
Anotable move in the first quarter, Citi pulled out of the Boston area, shutting down all of its17 branches, 14 ofwhich were taken overby Webster FinancialCorp. in January.
With 17 branch openings, Waterbury, Conn.-based WebsterFinancial was the most active branch opener in the first quarter. The parentcompany of Webster BankNA significantly boosted its presence in Boston with the takeover of theCiti locations.
Speaking during a Feb. 11 conference, Webster FinancialChairman and CEO James Smith emphasized the potential for Boston to be abillion-dollar-plus deposit market for Webster Financial, adding that Citi'sexit in the market was an opportunity that the company "certainly wouldn'tpass [up]," according to a transcript of the event. He said the branch purchase wasboth strategically and financially compelling "because while we take somedilution over the near term, we breakeven in 2017 and it will be economicallyprofitable in 2018 and beyond."
JPMorgan Chase& Co. closed 32 branches and opened just two in the firstquarter, according to SNL data. Thelarge-cap bank has been consistently decreasing its total number of branchesover the past four quarters, with 196 net branch closures.
Speaking during the company's Feb. 23 investor day, JPMorganConsumer and Community Banking CEO Gordon Smith said that accelerating branchclosings, or closing 400 or 500 branches, is not in JPMorgan's currentstrategy, and that the company has a comprehensive set of activities to monitorthe usage and profitability of its branches. Particularly citing Arizona andFlorida, where construction is growing quickly across all income sectors, Smithsaid those communities "need us to go build branches in them, and we will.So we will look at each community, each area, we will decide if there's anopportunity to build a branch," according to a .
RegionsFinancial Corp. closed 20 offices and opened just one branch in thefirst quarter, in line with its strategy to eliminate core expenses of $300million over the next three years. According to the company's during theFeb. 24 Wells Fargo 2016 Investors' Forum, Regions is targeting 10% to 15% branchand real estate optimization, with plans to consolidate 100 to 150 branches.
Meanwhile, California saw 53 net branch closures in thefirst quarter, the most of any state. There were 72 branch closings and 19branch openings in the state in the quarter.
SNL Financial is anoffering of S&P Global Market Intelligence.
SNL offers a variety of tools to help analyze bank branch data.
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SNL combines bank branch data along with demographic information, which can be accessed via the market demographics page under the U.S. market analysis section of a company's briefing book page on the SNL website or in SNLxl.