One such report, published by the financial market research firm Fitch Ratings entitled, U.S. Banks: Rationalizing the Branch Network, expects that both fewer numbers of branches and different types of branches will be serving customers in the future. According to the report, the continuously increasing cost structure of banking, accompanied by a challenging revenue environment and higher capital requirements is prompting banks to evaluate all expense categories — especially their branch distribution system, which is one of the most significant expenses.
Past Branch Growth
For the past 30 years, branch growth continued unabated while the number of financial institutions declined by more than 50%. The growth occurred largely through consolidation and de-novo expansion, with the objective being to expand a bank's footprint and customer base and therefore low cost deposits and loans.