With more banking online, Bank of America to cut branches

Bank of America Corp. said Tuesday it plans to close some branches over the next three to five years, but that it's too early to say how many might be shuttered or where the closings might be.

Bank spokesman Jim Mahoney said the proposed closings are related to customers' continued migration to online and mobile banking. Regulators did not pressure the Charlotte bank to close branches, he said.

The idea of eliminating some of its 6,100 branches came up at a meeting last Thursday at the bank's corporate headquarters, where chief executive Ken Lewis met with some institutional investors, Mahoney said. The discussion turned to how the rise in online banking might affect the banks' brick-and-mortar branches, Mahoney said.

"A question was asked of Ken Lewis as to what the magnitude (of the branch closings) could be and he said he didn't know,” Mahoney said. "And they said, Could it possibly be in the 10 percent range? And he said, ‘Conceivably.'”

The Wall Street Journal reported in Tuesday's paper that Lewis said at the meeting that he planned to shrink the branch network by about 10 percent.

Mahoney said the bank is constantly closing and opening branches as it evaluates their profitability. He said that any plans are only very preliminary and that the closings would be spread out over the next three to five years.

"We do not have a plan to close a specific number of branches, we have not identified branches to close, and we are not in the process of identifying branches to close," Mahoney said.


Related stories from McClatchy DC