US retail banks slashed their branch networks and trimmed headcount in the first half of the year in a bet that much of the foot traffic that went digital during pandemic lockdowns will never return.
Wells Fargo, Citigroup and JPMorgan closed more than 250 branches in the first half of the year, accounting for 1 to 5 per cent of their networks, with more reductions expected even as some lenders expand in certain locations. San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, which had the highest branch count in the US at the start of the year, took the lead by closing 154 branches, or 3 per cent of its domestic network, and reducing headcount by 6 per cent. “Our customers are increasingly leveraging our digital capabilities,” chief financial officer Michael Santomassimo said. “These changes and others have enabled us to adjust branch staffing.”