Banking's long-term trend: A shift away from branches

John Goerzen rarely steps inside a bank branch. Jeff Geer estimates he goes to the branch only two or three times a year. Both men do nearly all of their banking online.

While area bank executives say there are still a large number of consumers who use branches to do most of their banking business, a shift is occurring in customer preferences.

More of them are using online banking services.

It's a trend that likely won't reverse as bank technology evolves to allow customers to do more of their banking through a PC or smartphone.

It doesn't mean an end for branch banking, bankers said. But the trend could change how customers use branches and how accessible banks make them.

An August survey by the American Bankers Association illustrates the trend. The group asked 1,000 consumers in the U.S. which banking method they used most often.

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