OHIO — A trend toward digital banking during the COVID-19 pandemic drove banks to shrink their brick-and-mortar presence in Ohio last year. That’s according to a new report that shows U.S. banks shuttered a record 38 percent of retail bank branches in 2021.
Ohio saw a net loss of 130 banks last year. Notably, Ohio's unemployment rate in November was 4.8 percent, which was higher than the national average, 4.2 percent.
The S&P Global Marketing Intelligence analysis shows U.S. banks closed nearly 4,000 branches and opened 1,000, for a net loss of 2,927 branches as the pandemic increased digital banking for a second straight year.
“Banks have accelerated plans to consolidate their branch footprints as the Covid-19 pandemic encouraged consumer adoption of mobile and digital channels,” S&P Global’s Zach Fox and Umer Khan wrote in the report. “Further, banks have faced a tough operating environment with low interest rates pressuring margins and forcing a reconsideration of expenses.”
Banks closing the most locations were:
Wells Fargo & Co., net closure of 267 branches, to 4,894.
U.S. Bancorp, net closure of 257 branches, to 2,572.
Truist Financial Corp., net closure of 234 branches, to 2,553.
Huntington Bancshares Inc., net closure of 221 branches to 1,445.
Bank of America Corp., net closure of 166 branches to 4,084.
Other banks opened dozens of branches “as lenders continue to use retail branches as a marketing and consumer acquisition tool even while more consumers use digital and mobile services,” the report said.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. opened 169 new branches while at the same time pruning its brick-and-mortar footprint, closing 129 branches on net. The Wall Street titan now has banks in the 48 contiguous states.
Bank of America added 53 locations while still reducing its physical presence.
U.S. banks closed 1,417 banks in 2019, the last full year before the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020, banks shuttered 2,126 brick-and-mortar locations.