According to JLL’s 2017 Banking Outlook, branch locations have already declined nearly 8 percent since 2009, due in part to consolidation but also market saturation. JLL is forecasting that as many as 20 percent of bank branch locations in the United States could close in the next five years.
Rise of mobile. Customers can now do most basic transfers and check deposits via either mobile application or a desktop browser.
Saving space. By downsizing remaining branches by 2,000 square feet (186 sq m) and reusing or subleasing surplus space if possible, banks can save over $5 billion annually.
Diversification. To meet customer needs and regional demographics, banks will offer in their real estate portfolios both full-scale operations and smaller “convenience” locations for basic transactions. One example of a convenience location would be inside a grocery store or some other retail anchor.
Rebalancing. While many markets are seeing banks closing branches due to consolidation and saturation, some are still witnessing the opening of new branches, including San Jose, Los Angeles, Nashville, and Boston.
“The branch strategy of relying on sheer numbers to win market share is a thing of the past, and now banks need to focus on a customer-centric real estate approach,” said Geno Coradini, executive vice president and lead of JLL’s retail group. “Mobile apps and [other financial technology] have transformed how we bank, but branch banks don’t need to compete with these tech advances. Instead, they should leverage them to maximize real estate cost savings and the customer experience moving forward.”