As Customers Move to Mobile, BofA to Shutter More Branches (Jan. 16, 2014)
Bank of America may close up to 150 branches by the end of the year as the bank’s heavy investment into mobile banking continues to bear fruit, the company said. During its fourth quarter 2013 earnings call this week, BofA reported that its total number of branches dropped to 5,151 in Q4, from 5,478 a year earlier. And the bank’s brick-and-mortar network could sink to below 5,000 by the close of 2014 as customers continue to migrate toward online and mobile channels; 14.4 million BofA customers banked via a mobile device by the end of 2013, up from 12.0 million a year ago. Mobile check deposit, meanwhile, has shown strong growth since its introduction by BofA in 2012, accounting for 9 percent of all checks deposited with the bank during Q4 2013, up from 7 percent in the previous quarter. In all, BofA has laid out nearly half a billion dollars on mobile products and services over the past three to four years, CEO Brian Moynihan said during the call.
The bank gradually has been contracting its branch network since 2009, shedding 950 branches since that year, or 15.5 percent. And many of BofA’s competitors among the largest U.S. banks are doing the same; since reaching a peak of 99,544 in 2009, the total number of physical branches of major banks had shrunk 3 percent by June 2013, according to data from the FDIC.