Regions to add Charlotte branch as part of Southern expansion

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Regions Financial in Birmingham, Ala., is opening a branch in Charlotte, N.C., as part of a broader effort to bulk up in markets where it sees high growth potential.

Regions executives said on a recent first-quarter earnings call that the $123 billion-asset company plans to open around 20 branches this year in Southern in Midwestern markets that also include St. Louis, Atlanta, Houston, Charlotte and Memphis and Knoxville, Tenn.

The new Charlotte branch will be on the ground floor of an office building at 615 College Street, where Regions is consolidating corporate and retail banking teams currently housed in several buildings in Charlotte. The branch, complete with a video banking ATM, will be Regions' third in Charlotte. It is expected to open in the third quarter.

John Owen, the head of consumer banking, told analysts in April that Regions planned to eliminate 30 to 40 branches this year as part of an effort to prune expenses. But he said it would also add 20 to 30 branches per year over the next two years in cities where it sees growth potential.

“You'll see our net branch count will be down a little bit, but you'll see us continue to invest in key markets,” he said.

He added that Regions had already consolidated about 10% of its branch network over the past two years.

While many banks have continued cutting branches in cost-saving measures, plenty have also announced plans to add new branches in recent months in select markets.

JPMorgan Chase wants to add roughly 400 branches in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and other markets where it has little to no presence. Bank of America plans to add 500 branches nationwide and U.S. Bancorp in Minneapolis is eyeing a number of new cities, including Houston.

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