ATLANTA - Financial institutions with in-store branches plan to open more in the next year, and 24% of these expect to add at least six, according to International Banking Technologies.

The 8,100 bank branches in supermarkets nationwide make up about 10% of all bank and credit union branches, said an IBT survey of more than 1,000 CEOs at banks and credit unions with at least $50 million of assets. IBT estimated that last year 600 in-store branches were opened and 200 closed.

Some sales activities and processes that have been successful at in-store sites are now being offered in traditional branches, IBT said, including weekly sales meetings, frequent promotions, and prize drawings. Manager swaps, in which managers from traditional and in-store branches trade places for a day, are also becoming popular.

"I think what we're seeing is how valuable the integration of multiple channels is in the mindset of the overall institution," said John W. Garnett, chief executive officer of IBT.

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