CNN reports that a new study by SNL Financial found banks opened 1,149 branches last year but closed 2,267, resulting in a loss of 1,118 branches. This is the highest level of branch closings since SNL Financial began tracking the market in 2005.
Bank of America led the industry in shutting down the most branches, with 256 retail offices closed; the Charlotte, N.C.-headquartered bank opened only 12 branches last year. Other banks that closed more branches than they opened include Capital One, Wells Fargo, Citi and BB&T.
Nancy Bush, a bank analyst and contributing editor at SNL Financial, blames the high number of bank closures on the new regulatory environment.
‘All the costs of regulation are pressing on banking as a whole, and with a low interest rate environment it's harder and harder to make money,’ says Bush. ‘They have to look for a way to offset that.’