JP Morgan Chase to close 300 branches as customers go mobile

JP Morgan Chase to close 300 branches as customers go mobile

With customer flocking to its mobile app, JPMorgan Chase is planning to close around 300 branches by the end of next year.

In a presentation from its investor day, the bank says that it will shut down around 150 of its 5,602 branches this year, and another 150 in 2016 as customers continue to shift to digital channels, particularly mobile, for basic transactions.

The JPMorgan Chase app now has 19 million users, representing a 20% year-on-year rise. In 2014 the bank's mobile cheque deposit feature was used 45 million time, 25% up on the previous year, while the P2P payments service was used 30 million times, an 80% rise.

With ATMs also being used more for things such as deposits, branch tellers are being used less often. In 2007 90% of JPMorgan consumer deposits were done via a teller and 10% via ATMs. In 2014 just 42% were via teller, 48% via ATM, and 10% via the bank's QuickDeposit mobile service.

This is proving to be a money saver for the bank, with costs per deposit 50% lower in 2014 than they were just seven years earlier. In addition, digital customers are 10% more likely to have JPMorgan as their primary bank and are 15% less likely to leave the bank.

However, the branch is still viewed as a powerful channel, with 90% of customers visiting one at least once a year. Like many banks, JPMorgan is restructuring the branches it does keep to be more focused on advisory services. From a 2011 peak of 60,000 branch employees, the bank had just 46,000 by 2014, but 60% of these were advisory staff, up 10 percentage points on four years earlier.

Earlier this week an FDIC report claimed that "there is little evidence that the emergence of new electronic channels for delivering banking services has substantially diminished the need for traditional branch offices where banking relationships are built".

Comments: (9)

Brett King
Brett King - Moven - New York 24 February, 2015, 20:231 like 1 like

It's earnings week in the US. Smart banks like chase are downsizing branches strategically to show the market they are digital ready and digital savvy. Banks that keep branch 'business as usual' will be in trouble in the short-term with markets.

Stanley Epstein
Stanley Epstein - Citadel Advantage Ltd - Modiin 25 February, 2015, 15:251 like 1 like

Looks like it’s just a market pleasing move. Closing only 150 branches in 2015 out of 5,600 is not really significant. I wonder if the planned additional 150 branch closures for 2016 will be increased by this time next year.

Douglas Hartung
Douglas Hartung - Diebold - Houston 25 February, 2015, 17:11Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I wonder if the story would have been picked up if the headline read, "JP Morgan Chase to close 0.053% of branches over the next 18 months as customers go mobile".  I think Stanley may have nailed the actual intent.

Douglas Hartung
Douglas Hartung - Diebold - Houston 25 February, 2015, 17:16Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes


Brett King
Brett King - Moven - New York 25 February, 2015, 17:181 like 1 like

Stanley is right. But think about this - the fact they are positioning debranching to the market shows their thinking at a board level, i.e. branches are NOT strategic long-term.

Matt White
Matt White - Finextra - Toronto 25 February, 2015, 17:263 likes 3 likes

Just to clarify, Douglas: 300 of 5602 is 5.3%, which I'd say is a pretty big chunk.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 25 February, 2015, 18:07Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

While I understand both the economics and the optics of closing branches, in this day and age it is clear to enlightened bankers that they need to be wherever and whenever their customers need them to be....which means they need to have every channel - branch, phone, web, social, etc. - available for customers.  

Derek Corcoran
Derek Corcoran - Avoka - Broomfield 26 February, 2015, 11:11Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Banks exist to make money. 

They make money by providing the right products and services to customers where and when customers need them. 

This move by Chase is a response to customer behaviour. We still need branches becuase (a) Some customers want them but that number is growing and (b) the bank doesn't allow you to do EVERYTHING you need through the digtial channel. 

Branch closures in the 90's were an attempt to reduce costs. But there wasn't a good viable alternative so it back-fired. Now digital (online & mobile) is that "alternative" and customers are voting for it with their taps, swipes and clicks. 

Dean Wallace
Dean Wallace - ACI - Global 02 March, 2015, 09:14Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

@Derek, I agree. Remember in the early 2000s when there was a big push to out-source call centres and IVR because it was seen as better service and cheaper? Mixed success because when it boils down to it (no matter your age), sometimes you just want to speak to a person in your own language, which depending on the situation just might include being able to see the whites of their eyes. This didn't just happen in FISvcs, but other industries too (see my recent blog for a light-hearted example).

Its a numbers game, based on where a big player can net as much value as possible for the best penny spent. As the guys above have pointed out, the branch closure is not a huge impact on total branch and clearly well worth the message it sends that Digital is high on the priority order ("come to us Miss & Mstr Millenial").