BankBoston Corp. is closing more branches and has scheduled closings of private banking offices too.
Last week the $68.2 billion-asset bank said it would close 12 branches: 10 in Massachusetts and 2 in New Hampshire by the end of February.
That is in addition to the nine Massachusetts branches and three in New Hampshire the bank announced in October. These branches are slated to close in January. It is also in addition to the 65 Massachusetts branches closed since February in the integration of the old BayBanks Inc., which BankBoston bought last year.
Six private banking offices-four in Florida, one in New York, and one in Connecticut-will also be closed, the bank confirmed.
In Florida, the Boca Raton and Sarasota offices will take over the business of the targeted Coral Gables, Naples, Palm Beach, and Stuart offices. In the Northeast, the White Plains, N.Y., office will be closed and its business taken over by a new private banking office in Stamford, Conn. Likewise, the Hartford, Conn., office will take over the business of the Avon, Conn., office, which will be closed.
The branch closings announced last week and in October will cost 148 employees their present jobs, said Bruce E. Spitzer, a spokesman. But those employees will be considered for jobs elsewhere in the bank, he said.
However, 37 private bankers at the offices to be closed-36 people in Florida and one in White Plains-will not be offered new jobs, Mr. Spitzer said. They have been offered severance packages.
The closings of the branches and private banking offices reflect ongoing efforts to wring efficiencies out of BankBoston's U.S. operations, he said.
In pruning branches BankBoston targeted those where customers seem likeliest to use electronic banking services or where the bank has another branch within blocks, executives of the bank said.
"These decisions were made by carefully evaluating customer traffic patterns and volume in these branches and taking into consideration the increasing use of neighboring branches as well as alternative delivery channels," said Thomas J. Hollister, executive vice president and director of consumer and small-business banking.
Analysts said the branch closings reflect the trend in regional banking away from traditional branch banking and toward electronic services. "It's a part of doing business now," said Thomas Theurkauf, an analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.
As for the closings of private banking offices, Mr. Spitzer said these reflect a new strategy of concentrating on the use of client teams, which will be drawn from all parts of the bank. Far from reducing services, he said, "we are broadening our customer base in regard to global asset management."
The latest moves are unrelated to BankBoston's recently announced reengineering program, the bank said. In October the bank said it had hired Ashton Consulting in New York to help it examine ways of creating efficiencies in New England retail banking operations. Preliminary results of that review are not expected until April, BankBoston said.