R.I. bucks the national bank branch-closure trend

By Rhonda J. Miller
PBN Staff Writer

Some Rhode Island banks are defying what’s reported to be a national trend of a decreasing number of branches. More

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FOCUS: BANKING & FINANCE

R.I. bucks the national bank branch-closure trend

PBN PHOTO/TRACY JENKINS
RIGHT MOVES: Bob Ricci, president and regional manager of Bank Rhode Island, speaks with customer Denise DiPippo, owner of Denise’s School of Dance. “We’ve noticed lots of new faces coming in,” Ricci said.

By Rhonda J. Miller
PBN Staff Writer

Posted 12/9/13

Some Rhode Island banks are defying what’s reported to be a national trend of a decreasing number of branches.

“U.S. banks continued to shutter more branches than they opened in the third quarter, extending a multiquarter trend, as customers do more routine banking business online and reduce the relevance of traditional branches,” according to a report released in November by SNL Financial, which provides financial data and analysis for several business sectors, including banking and financial services.

Across the United States, banks had a net reduction of 390 branches in the third quarter of 2013, according to the SNL Financial analysis.

“That was roughly on par with the second quarter and marked a greater level of net closures than in the two previous quarters, when branch counts also declined,” the report said.

“Mergers and acquisitions, too, are playing a role, bankers and analysts have told SNL, as banks consolidate branches to save costs after closing deals,” the report said.

“It should be noted that the majority of branch closings nationwide can be attributed to moves by a few large banks,” BankNewport Executive Vice President of Community Banking Robert E. Maddock said. “Having said that, BankNewport closed a small branch in Newport in 2012 that was not meeting our growth objectives.”

Still, SNL Financial findings of a decline in branches nationwide doesn’t hold true for BankNewport.

With a dozen branches, BankNewport is growing that number to 15, with three new branches in North Kingstown, Cranston and Coventry expected to be completed by the end of first quarter of 2014, said Maddock.

“The acquisition of branches in Coventry and Cranston presents a real opportunity to grow the BankNewport franchise into towns that are contiguous to our current branch footprint, can be supported by our current marketing efforts and offer the ability to acquire and grow an existing customer base from day one,” said Maddock.

The smaller square footage covers all the required customer services and makes use of technology such as iPads. North Kingstown will be the first BankNewport branch without a traditional teller line, and instead offer “concierge-like” banking with a one-on-one focus.

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