HARRISBURG, Pa., and CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (8/1/12)--U.S. banks and thrifts lopped off more than 767 branches during 2011, with banks in Pennsylvania leading the exodus. However, credit union branches in that state increased, said the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association.
Pennsylvania lost the most bank branches--83--of all the states, according to SNL Financial LLC of Charlottesville, Va. Georgia had the second-highest closures, with 51 branches cut, and Virginia, was third-highest, with 46 branches dropped in the past year.
Four states saw gains: California gained 22 bank branches; Rhode Island, three; New Mexico, two; and Delaware, one. Three states--New Hampshire, Alaska and North Dakota--broke even with no branch cuts or additions. The rest saw decreases in bank branches.
PCUA noted that 119 bank branches were shut in the state, while 36 new ones opened--for a net loss of 83. But the state gained 14 credit union branches in 2011, said PCUA. During the past five years, credit unions have added 157 branches in the state (Life is a Highway July 31)
Pennsylvania experienced its largest growth spurt in credit union branches in 2008, when 44 new branches opened.
The metro area with the greatest number of bank branches closed--30--was the Philadelphia-Camden, N.J.-Wilmington, Del. metro area. It lost 10 more branches than did New York's metropolitan statistical area. The SNL Financial report indicated that six of the major banks with the most branch closures have large networks in Pennsylvania, said PCUA. The losses were attributed to consolidation of existing sites and closures to cut expenses.
The report also indicated that consumers have been reluctant to abandon brick and mortar branches for online or mobile branch services and that a typical bank branch employs up to 20 people. Use the link to access the report summary.