(CLEVELAND) KeyCorp plans to close 20 to 30 branches by December in its ongoing effort to cut costs.
The Cleveland-based bank has nearly 1,000 branches nationwide, with about 77 of those in Greater Cleveland, 17 in Greater Akron and 14 in the Canton area.
The locations of the branches that will close haven’t yet been announced. Customers will be notified at least 90 days before closure, said Key spokesman Jack Sparks.
Key has about 40 fewer branches nationwide than it had 18 months ago. While it’s been closing locations, the bank has opened a few new ones.
Like most banks, Key is getting squeezed by low interest rates and is coping with declining branch traffic as online activity soars.
At Key, the volume of customers’ transactions completed online or on smartphones is now twice as high as the volume done in branches, Chairman and CEO Beth Mooney said in an interview.
Yet, when people want to open an account, or discuss a big decision, they generally want to do that in a branch, Mooney said. That’s why Key will continue to open a handful of new locations.
The move away from branches cuts across the banking industry. Chase Bank, for example, says that more deposits are now made at ATMs and by smartphones than in branches.
Many area banks have been closing branches the last few years, including PNC, Fifth Third, Citizens/Charter One and FirstMerit.
Just last month, Fifth Third Bank said it will close or sell about 100 of its 1,300 branches to cut costs and better serve customers who are doing more banking on their computers and phones.
FirstMerit Bank earlier this year said it’s closing 16 branches in four states as a cost-cutting measure. Seven of the affected branches are in Ohio: Strongsville, Akron, Ravenna, Massillon, Tiffin, Ashland and Mansfield.
With Key’s branch closings could come more job cuts. The bank is down 400 employees in the last year because of layoffs and attrition. It now has 13,455 workers, including about 5,000 in Northeast Ohio.