The two largest banks in Louisiana ranked by total deposits trimmed a combined 34 branch locations during 2020, with fewer customers visiting bank branches and doing more banking online and some branch consolidations cited as reasons.
"I think there is a clear trend to reduce the number of branches across the country that has now been accelerated because of the pandemic," said Terry McEvoy, a managing director at Stephens, which conducts research about the financial services industry. "There's just less foot traffic."
"I think this is going to be an accelerant to that behaviors that we were all as a society heading for anyway," Richard Fairbank, the chief executive officer of Capital One told investors during an earnings call last April as the pandemic took hold nationally. He noted an advantage for banks that have built the capabilities to help customers do everything digitally. "It was always where the world is going, but I think it's just an acceleration of the bell curve shifted in terms of, I think, the number of folks."
More than 200 JPMorgan Chase branches were closed across the nation in 2020, records show, with Capital One closing nearly 100 branches. Overall, more than 2,000 bank branches closed across the country in the last year.
Capital One, which had about 100 branches across the state mid-2020, decided to close 14 Louisiana branches last year and had already closed 16 in 2019.
JPMorgan Chase, which had about 120 branches statewide mid-2020, decided to close 20, compared to 13 in 2019.
In the Baton Rouge metro area, the two banks closed 17 branches combined over the past two years. The New Orleans and Lafayette areas lost seven branches each during the same time frame.
In addition to Capital One and Chase closures, local institutions Investar Bank and Fifth District Savings Bank each closed one location in 2020. Fifth District Savings Bank closed a branch in Mandeville but opened a new branch in New Orleans. Investar Bank closed a bank branch in Zachary but opened one in New Orleans and another in Lake Charles.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. records show that bank branches with the least amount of deposits in a market tended to be the ones closed.
For example, a JPMorgan Chase location that was closed along Florida Boulevard near Lobdell Avenue in Baton Rouge had $43.8 million in deposits as of June, which was among the smallest when ranked by deposits.
Likewise, a Capital One location on Highland Road near Airline Highway in East Baton Rouge Parish that closed had $60.4 million in deposits as of June, one of the smallest branches when ranked by deposits. A Chase branch was built nearby, replacing a location inside an Albertsons store.
"We constantly evaluate our branch network to ensure we're in the right locations as our customers' needs change," said Justin Page, a spokesperson for JPMorgan Chase. "Sometimes we consolidate a branch when another is nearby or traffic is low."
For example, JPMorgan Chase consolidated two branches near Siegen Lane and Interstate 10 into a bigger stand-alone branch at the intersection of Perkins Road and Siegen Lane. The company plans to open a new branch at the intersection of Florida Boulevard and Cora Drive — closing older branches along Florida and North Sherwood. JPMorgan Chase closed its Government Street branch downtown and is planning a new location nearby.
JPMorgan Chase is building five new ATMs across the city and expects all of them to be operational by the end of January. JPMorgan Chase is "deeply committed" to its presence in Baton Rouge, Page said, citing its recent $5 million grant for the revitalization along Plank Road, including plans to remodel its Plank Road branch.
"Branches are being reshaped throughout the industry to meet customer demand for more simple, convenient and online services," said Derek Conrad, a spokesperson at Capital One. "We know that many customers still value some physical presence to provide assurance, advice and the ability to facilitate and support some transactions. We do too."