U.S. Bancorp closing branches in Chicago

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U.S. Bancorp has begun closing branches in the Chicago area as part of a plan to add brick-and-mortar offices in some markets and to cut back on them in others.

The $475.7 billion-asset bank is closing 21 branches, or about 13% of its Chicagoland presence, a spokesman said Wednesday after Crain's reported that the closings were already underway. Most of them will be in the suburbs, and they will take place through the end of June.

“Customers’ preferences and behaviors are changing, including a rapid migration toward digital and mobile banking platforms," the spokesman wrote in an email. "As we evolve along with our customers, we are reevaluating our physical footprint, and in some instances, consolidating a limited number of branch locations in select markets."

CEO Andrew Cecere said on a call with analysts in April that he expected a net reduction in branches of between 10% to 15% over the next few years. That net number includes its plans to enter a new region. In September, Cecere said the bank was eyeing expansion into Southeastern cities where it has no retail presence, including North Carolina, Texas, Georgia and Florida. It said in April it will open about 10 branches in Charlotte by the end of 2020.

The bank also plans to reinvest in new, relocated or resdesigned "physical locations" by the end of next year in its core retail markets, according to the spokesman.

U.S. Bancorp estimates that 70% of its customers use its digital services, a critical mass that is allowing for a reduction in branches, Cecere said on the call with analysts.

Banks had a record 1,947 net branch closings last year, up from 1,919 net closings in 2017, according to Standard & Poor’s research.

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