Chevy Chase Bank is giving up on supermarket branches.

The $15 billion-asset, privately held thrift in Bethesda, Md., said Thursday that its 54 branches in Giant Food stores would be closed in August.

A 10-year contract Chevy Chase has with the supermarket chain expires then, and the thrift decided not to renew it.

W. Scott McSween, the executive vice president for Chevy Chase's retail banking division, said many of its customers prefer to use traditional branches.

"The lack of privacy in the supermarket branches has been a key concern, particularly when opening new accounts or discussing mortgage or other loan applications," he said in a press release.

The company, which lost $4.9 million in the first quarter, did not blame the economic climate or any financial trouble for the closings.

It is upgrading its Web site and automated teller machines and adding 11 traditional branches this year.

Dropping the in-store branches will leave Chevy Chase "in a better position to focus our resources" on those initiatives, it said in a Web site posting.

All but nine of the supermarket branches are in the Washington area and within two miles of a traditional branch.

In Baltimore and Salisbury, Md., where Chevy Chase lacks traditional branches, it is working with customers to ensure a smooth transition to another banking company.

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