WSFS to shrink branch network by 25% after merger closes

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WSFS Financial in Wilmington, Del., has revealed where it will consolidate branches once its acquisition of Beneficial Bancorp closes.

The $7.2 billion-asset WSFS said in a press release Thursday that it intends to close 14 Beneficial and 11 WSFS branches, as well as sell five additional banking offices located on the outer edges of its combined footprint. The majority of the closures will take place in Pennsylvania, though some branches in Delaware and New Jersey will also be shuttered.

The consolidation will shrink the combined company's branch footprint by 25%, to a total of 90 branches.

The company pointed to overall declines in branch transactions and geographic overlap as the reasoning for the consolidation. WSFS previously announced that it plans to invest $32 million of the cost savings from the retail optimization plan into a five-year investment in technology and delivery systems.

WSFS announced in August that it had agreed to purchase Beneficial for $1.5 billion. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter.

Most of the branch closures will take place when Beneficial Bank is integrated into WSFS Bank next August. A handful of the branches won't close until 2020. WSFS plans to offer jobs to all Beneficial and WSFS employees who work in the offices that are being closed or sold.

Teams from both WSFS and Beneficial conducted an analysis of the combined franchise to study market overlap, transaction trends, space considerations, cost of ownership, business opportunities, the brand experience, visibility from high-traffic roadways and the accessibility of each location, according to the release.

“We have worked quickly, but diligently, on our plan to combine our two institutions, which included identifying the retail space that will best help us deliver top-tier quality services and solutions for customers across the Delaware Valley,” said Rodger Levenson, WSFS’ chief operating officer, who will become president and CEO on Jan. 1.

Additionally, WSFS said in the release that it plans to raise the minimum wage across the combined organization to its current minimum of $15 an hour.

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