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Banks Set Record for U.S. Branch Closures as Pandemic Took Toll

  • Closings come as regional banks merge to stay competitive
  • Wells Fargo has most net closures as Scharf reduces expenses
A "Retail Space Available" sign is displayed in the window of a closed bank branch in the Bronx borough of New York, on Feb. 22, 2019. 

A "Retail Space Available" sign is displayed in the window of a closed bank branch in the Bronx borough of New York, on Feb. 22, 2019. 

Photographer: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg

The number of U.S. bank branches dropped by a record 2,927 last year as lenders both large and small sought ways to cut costs and keep pace with a digital transformation sweeping the finance industry.

The tally includes the opening of more than 1,000 new locations and the shuttering of almost 4,000 existing branches, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence published Thursday. Net closures were up 38% from the previous record of 2,126 in 2020.