B of A’s latest destination: Pittsburgh

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Bank of America has plans to open its first full-service branches in Pittsburgh.

The bank said Monday that it will soon open three branches in the Pittsburgh metro area as it continues its retail expansion into midsize cities across the country.

B of A has signed leases in three neighborhoods — South Hills, East Side and Wexford — and plans to add additional ATMs and robo-branches “over the next few years,” the company said in a press release Monday. It currently provides wealth management and commercial banking services to 210,000 clients in the Pittsburgh area.

“The decision to open financial centers here is an important demonstration of our commitment to Pittsburgh,” Brian Ludwick, B of A’s Pittsburgh market president, said in the release. “These centers will provide new customers and our existing banking, investment and commercial clients access to all the capabilities Bank of America Merrill Lynch has to offer."

The announcement came two weeks after B of A announced plans to open its first full-service branch in Indianapolis, as well as several high-tech facilities in the city where customers can talk with bankers over video conferencing lines. The company also recently opened flagship branches in other midsize cities such as Denver and Minneapolis.

The move underscores how big banks are relying on brick-and-mortar branches to build up their brands in new markets. JPMorgan Chase announced last week that it plans to use a portion of its tax savings to add as many as 400 new locations in East Coast cities such as Washington and Philadelphia.

B of A likely faces an uphill climb to gain scale in Pittsburgh. PNC, the city’s biggest local bank, controls 43% of the city’s deposits, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Those figures, however, include large deposit accounts held in the company’s Pittsburgh corporate office.

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