HF Financial in Sioux Falls, S.D., is scaling back its in-store branch branches due to increased demand for online banking and the advice-oriented offerings at full-service branches.

The $1.3 billion-asset company said in a press release Tuesday that it plans to close four branches inside Hy-Vee grocery stores in Sioux Falls. After the restructuring is complete, HF will have just one in-store branch.

"Balancing the physical branch locations with a robust electronic channel is key to assuring we are exceeding expectations of our customers while providing strong value to our shareholders," Stephen Bianchi, HF's president and chief executive, said in the release.

As part of the restructuring effort, HF Financial — the parent company of Home Federal Bank — will move one of the Hy-Vee locations targeted for closure into a recently purchased, full-service branch.

HF announced a similar initiative in August, replacing its Hy-Vee branch in Marshall, Minn., with a newly built, standalone branch.

"We still recognize branches as being the pace where we can provide service and transactions, but more importantly advice," Bianchi said in an interview, acknowledging industry pressures on full-service locations. "We think that branches have a place in the future of banking."

Bianchi said the in-store branch closures are part of a broader strategy to invest in digital banking, adding that HF recently upgraded its online platform to include mobile capture technology.

HF is the latest in a string of banks to cut grocery store branches. The $29 billion-asset BOK Financial in Tulsa, Okla., announced last month that it would close or relocate all 39 of its in-store branches in New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, to cut overhead.

The $19 billion-asset TCF Financial in Wayzata, Minn., and the $11 billion-asset Old National Bancorp in Evansville, Ind., have also announced in-store branch closures.

HF has 27 branches in South Dakota and Minnesota, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

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