Banks may close down many local branches

“Faced with a severe economic environment and massive consolidation within the industry, banks are taking a hard look at their retail banking locations.

Severe loan losses in areas like credit cards and commercial real estate, have also put banks’ capital levels under severe pressure, prompting some lenders to look for ways to cut expenses.

“Banks are broadly reassessing their branches,” said Bob Meara, senior analyst at the consultancy Celent. “What we don’t know is how they are going to react.”

From big banks to regional players, there are already indicators that the nation’s massive banking system is trying to slim down.

Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500), the nation’s largest bank by deposits, made headlines in July when reports surfaced of its plans to trim as much as 10% of its brick-and-mortar branch locations.”

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