CNN Money reports that in 2012, banks closed 2,267 branches last year nationwide and opened 1,149, meaning we’re down 1,118.
The reason for the closures, logically, is to cut costs. Online and mobile banking are more affordable methods of service to maintain than physical locations, and with people migrating toward those outlets anyway, it makes sense to close down low-performing branches.
Bank of America is leading the charge in closing branches, followed by Capital One, Wells Fargo, Citi and BB&T. (Against the trend, Chase actually opened more branches than it closed last year.) To help customers transition, banks are adding more features to ATMs, like bank statements and mobile deposits, as well as cash incentives like lower fees for online checking accounts.
A bank analyst predicts to CNN Money that we’ll never be completely without bank branches, but that they’ll be concentrated in high-traffic urban areas. Tell us: Do you prefer the interaction of a bank teller, or the convenience of automated banking?