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Are Bank Branches Making a Comeback?

"In-person banking is fading away."

Wall Street’s biggest bank would beg to disagree. reports that banking giant JPMorgan Chase plans to expand its branch network significantly over the next few years, aiming to open over 500 new branches focused on underserved areas, according to a statement seen by Reuters and The Wall Street Journal.

Some other banks are reducing their physical footprints. However, while JPMorgan also plans to close around 30 locations it acquired from First Republic Bank, the bank sees branches as important for attracting new customers and wants to become people's primary financial partner.


“Our branch network is one of the key reasons that customers open accounts with us, and it has helped us attract deposits,” Roberts told the wire service. “We really view our branches as a storefront for the entire company, and it is an anchor for us to expand our relationship with customers as we aim to be their primary financial partner.”

Branches: Coming or Going?

There were 77,690 total active bank branches as of October, according to S&P Global data. U.S. banks closed 123 branches and opened 80 that month. As online/mobile banking grows, some data suggests branches may be declining for some banks.

However, we'd recently posted a podcast by BAI exploring the future of bank and credit union branches in a post-COVID environment. Their guest, Jim Caliendo, president and CEO at design and consulting firm PWCampbell, believes branches will remain popular -- with a few caveats.

In a previous post, we also noted that bank branches will see a transformation, moving towards an "experience store" vs a traditional bank branch.

Cashing Check at the Teller

In Accenture’s vision, laid out in a pre-pandemic report, experience stores will showcase products and provide complex advice; empower staff with simple mobile technology; and operate as an integrated component of the overall channel strategy. Branch networks in each market will feature an “experience hub” augmented by satellite branches.

Overall, JPMorgan's recent moves suggest the financial giant is betting that branches still have value in certain markets. The impact likely depends on how well they target expansion and integrate physical and digital services.

Whether financial institutions are planning to increase, decrease, or maintain the number of bank branches, it will be imperative that they invest in technologies to make the customer experience as seamless as possible. This includes tech to automate the processing of legacy payments such as checks., providing customers the same experience whether through digital channels or at the bank branch.

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