Long gone are the days of a JPM or BOA branch on every corner. Commercial bank branches edged lower in 2014 as consumers are continuing to conduct more and more banking online and through mobile apps. As global banks continue to rush to close branches around the U.S., KBW believes that banks are best served by reinvesting this capital into brand awareness and technology advancement.
"We believe that reducing the number of branches and reinvesting some of that savings in brand enhancement will be the winning retail bank strategy of the next 10 years," KBW analysts said in a report for clients. Commercial bank branches edged lower in 2014 to 82,613 from 82,860 a year earlier, according to FDIC data. The number peaked at 83,663 in 2013. While the branch numbers for the moment aren't likely to show as precipitous a decline as total banks—down 26 percent in the past 10 years and 61 percent from the historical peak in 1994—underlying changes in the way the institutions operate will be dramatic