Simmons First, Great Southern mulling branch closures

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The list of banks looking to close branches keeps getting longer.

Simmons First National is planning to close 23 branches and a loan production office in the fourth quarter in a move that should save the Pine Bluff, Ark., company $6.8 million a year. The $21.9 billion-asset company shuttered 11 locations in June, reducing annual expenses by $2.4 million.

Simmons First also has a deal in place to sell three branches and a loan production office in Denver to First Western Financial.

Great Southern Bancorp in Springfield, Mo., said during its quarterly earnings call that it had hired La Macchia Group, a consultant in Milwaukee, to conduct a review of its branch network. Executives for the $5.6 billion-asset company said that the review is almost complete and that they would likely have more details in the fourth quarter.

“A significant number of our customers still enjoy utilizing our banking centers and consider our branch as a main point of access,” Kelly Polonus, Great Southern’s communications and marketing director, said on the company’s call.

“At the same time, many of these customers are also utilizing self-service channels,” Polonus added. “We fully understand, though, that our industry is evolving and the traditional banking center is a part of that evolution.”

Several other banking companies disclosed plans to close branches before reporting second-quarter results, including CB Financial Services in Carmichaels, Pa., Mercantile Bank in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Nicolet Bankshares in Green Bay, Wis.

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