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Chase announces cuts to branch staff

By David McMillin · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Posted: 12 pm ET

One of the biggest banks in the country is planning to say goodbye to many of the tellers in its branches.

At the JPMorgan Chase & Co. 2014 Investor Day, the bank's executives announced efforts to continue to reduce the number of staff members at its retail locations. By 2015, the Chase teller force will be 20 percent smaller than it was in 2011. Chase had an average of four tellers at each location, but the bank now plans to have just two at each new branch.

While account holders can expect to see fewer employees at bank branches, that doesn't mean these branches are going to close their doors. In fact, the number of Chase branches is actually increasing. The bank has added more than 100 locations to its branch network since 2011, and it currently stands at 5,630.

As more banking customers take advantage of self-service ATMs, mobile apps and online money management tools, new technology is forcing banks to rethink their approach to designing branches. While older customers might be accustomed to comfy seating in a branch that's the size of a football field, the days of this model are numbered. Chase also announced plans to shrink the physical size of its branches. Today, they typically cover approximately 4,400 square feet. In the future, the real estate will average between 2,500 and 3,500 square feet.

Chase isn't alone in its efforts to cut the overhead costs of big branches. Other financial giants are exploring new branch models. Wells Fargo debuted its "neighborhood bank" format in 2013, and PNC unveiled a "pop-up" branch with a size that would make any claustrophobic cringe: 160 square feet.

Are you happy with the evolution of banking? What do you expect is the future of your local branch?

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