PNC Financial Services (PNC) plans to close 200 branches this year, or 6.5% of its domestic network, as part of a broad push to cut costs.

The Pittsburgh company expects to close 32 of them in the first quarter as it revamps its branching strategy, President Bill Demchak told analysts on Tuesday at the Citigroup Financial Services Conference in Boston.

PNC is shifting to a "focus that uses technology to meet changing preferences of our customers," rather than a traditional, branch-heavy model, Demchak said, according to a transcript of his remarks.

Demchak, who will take over for retiring PNC Chief Executive James Rohr in April, said the company will also open new branches in select markets. PNC closed 65 branches in 2012.

Demchak announced last month that he will try to cut PNC's expenses by $700 million in 2013, as reported in the Pittsburgh Business Times. PNC's branch network represents about one-third of the company's total expenses, and executives hope that its investment in technology will lower those costs over the long term, Demchak said on Tuesday.

PNC is one of several banks striving to lower costs by pruning branches. SunTrust plans to close 40 branches this year, CEO William Rogers said on Tuesday at the Citigroup conference.

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