Associated Banc-Corp in Green Bay, Wis., said that it will close 21 branches across three states by mid-2012.

The $21.6 billion-asset company said in a press release obtained by American Banker on Monday that it decided on the closures after completing an "evaluation of our retail footprint to ensure our network is ideally positioned for future success, especially as it pertains to the changing regulatory and competitive environment."

During an October conference call with analysts to discuss third-quarter results, Philip B. Flynn, Associated's president and chief executive, said that caps on interchange fees would reduce gross revenues for the bank by $17 million to $19 million a year. At that time, Flynn said he expected increased mortgage financing activity to partially make up for the lost income in the short term but that the company needed a long-term plan to mitigate overall pressure on fee revenues.

The release said that the affected branches are close to other branches, usually within two miles. Sixteen branches will be closed in Wisconsin, along with three in Illinois and one in Minnesota. The branches are expected to close late in the first quarter or early in the second quarter of next year. Associated has about 270 branches in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois.

Associated is not the first banking company to blame new regulations for branch closures. International Bancshares Corp. in Laredo, Texas, said in September that it would close 55 in-store branches due to the Dodd-Frank Act's Durbin Amendment, which went into effect Oct. 1.

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