Bank branch closures reach highest level in two decades

Retrenchment hits retail landlords already on their knees

Popular Bank (Getty, iStock)
Popular Bank (Getty, iStock)

Banks are rapidly shrinking their retail real estate footprint by closing branches.

More than 100 bank branches have closed or are set to close across New York City this year, Crain’s reported, citing filings with federal and state regulators. That level of retreat is the largest in more than two decades.

The pullback is a blow to a sector that was already suffering as more consumers ride out the pandemic at home.

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Popular Bank is among the latest to announce branch closures. Eleven of its 38 branches in the region — nine in the city and two in New Jersey — will be shut, Crain’s reported.

“Basically, these were the most underperforming branches,” CEO Ignacio Alvarez said on a recent conference call, according to Crain’s.

“In the end we felt that they probably subtracted more than they added to retail districts.”

[Crain’s] — Akiko Matsuda