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JPMorgan Chase says it's running out of branches to close

JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase is one of a handful of large banks that has opened more branches than it has closed in recent years. Its branch count ticked up from 4,854 in September 2021 to 4,863 in September 2023, according to regulatory filings. Credit: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

JPMorgan Chase is running out of branches that it wants to close.

America's largest bank has already optimized much of its branch network, leaving it with "less and less accretive opportunities to consolidate," Marianne Lake, co-CEO of JPMorgan's consumer and community banking unit, said Tuesday at a Goldman Sachs conference.

The update comes after years of regular branch closings by JPMorgan, its big-bank counterparts and various regional banks. As consumer and commercial customers adopted online banking and financial institutions searched for ways to control expenses in recent years, banks embraced branch consolidation. A decline in branch visits during the COVID-19 pandemic and a number of major bank mergers in 2021 and 2022 sped up the consolidation process.

The number of bank branches in the U.S. fell to 79,000 at the end of 2022, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data. That was down from about 100,000 branch locations in 2009, the last year on record when the total number of branches increased.

But JPMorgan is one of a handful of large banks where the branch count has increased in recent years — ticking up from 4,854 branches in September 2021 to 4,863 in September 2023, according to regulatory filings. The banking giant plans to keep adding branches at a rate of about 150 per year, Lake said Tuesday.

"Over time, you'll see our network generally be flat to up, but we're going to keep adding in areas where we think the opportunity is there to do it," Lake said.

Despite their short operating histories, the branches added to JPMorgan's network between 2017 and 2023 have delivered about $85 billion of deposits so far, Lake said Tuesday.

In 2019, JPMorgan said it would open up to 90 branches in several cities that it first entered the previous year: Charlotte, North Carolina, Nashville, Tennessee, and St. Louis. The bank, which is nearing $4 trillion of assets, has also targeted affluent areas in the Northeast, including Boston, for branch expansion.
JPMorgan's branch openings in attractive markets are among several key investments for the bank. It has spent $8 billion recently on priority areas in its consumer banking unit, including marketing, technology products and data, Lake said.

Nevertheless, JPMorgan still has some branch consolidation on the horizon.

The bank closed 21 former First Republic Bank branches after acquiring parts of the failed bank this spring, and additional closings are expected to follow, JPMorgan said in September. The First Republic locations closed so far represent about a quarter of the 84 branches that First Republic operated before its downfall.