Banks continue to prune branches

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We've written recently about Bank of America planning on closing as many as 10% of its branches, but I thought I'd revisit it again because CNN.com has an interesting story about the other banks, predicting that this will be happening for awhile now.

They mention that JPMorgan Chase has shut almost 400 locations since last fall, and that Wells Fargo has announced it's closing 12 branches in Colorado.

It's certainly possible that we'll see more neighborhood branches shut down, of course, although it's not happening in great numbers yet. The only evidence I can find of, say, smaller banks eliminating their locations is this item from The Courier News,which reported that Amcore, a regional bank in Illinois, is getting rid of one of its four branches.
But, anyway, what was eye-opening in the CNN story, at least to me, was the mention of how much it costs to run an average bank branch.

Bancography, a consulting firm in Birmingham, Alabama, estimates it costs between $2 million and $2.5 million to open a new branch -- and then $350,000 to $400,000 a year to pay for everything from employee salaries to taxes.

While that's a lot of jack, I'm actually a little surprised that it doesn't typically cost more to run a bank branch, although we are talking averages here. Still, if a branch has, say, 10 employees, and it costs $400,000 to run the place, and if everyone were paid the same amount, and if we can pretend for a moment that there are no operating costs other than salaries, nobody would be making over $40,000. (SimplyHired.com says that the average salary for a bank teller is $37,000 a year.)

Wherever bank customers money is going these days, it's not going to the employees on the lowest rung of the banks' corporate ladder. It's something to remember the next time you get angry at your bank and are tempted to berate one of the tellers.
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