FirstBank Holding in Lakewood, Colo., will close 15 branches in its home state, reflecting an increase in its customers' reliance on electronic banking.

A dozen of the closures will be of supermarket stores mainly in the Denver area. Three freestanding branches in Avon, Vail and Colorado Springs are also set to close, the Denver Post reported in its online edition Wednesday.

"What's driving it is a decline in traffic, nothing to do with the bank's financial stability," Jim Reuter, a vice president at FirstBank, told the publication. "We just don't need the density we have today considering the change in customer behavior in online banking."

The online article reported that FirstBank would buy out some leases and offer employees posts at nearby locations. The supermarket branches employ a handful of people and each had $10 million to $20 million in deposits. The branches are expected to close next month. FirstBank will keep seven supermarket branches, and it plans to open three new freestanding branches in Colorado and Arizona in October.

FirstBank has 116 branches in Colorado, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The company also has 11 branches in Arizona and five in California.

Some banks have closed branches to cut costs and improve efficiency, but FirstBank is already fairly lean. At June 30, the company's efficiency ratio was 51.7%. While up from 47.41% a year earlier, the ratio compares to a national average of 61.6%.

FirstBank chief executive John Ikard was a 2010 American Banker Community Banker of the Year recipient.

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