PNC to close 200 branches this year: CEO

"PNC Financial Services plans to close 200 branches" this year, about 6.5% of its national network of more than 3,000 branches, in a cost-saving move, reports American Banker, quoting CEO-designate Bill Demchak's remarks at Citigroup's bank investors' conference in Boston on Tuesday.

"It's an approximate number. Final decisions have not been made," PNC spokeswoman Amy Vargo told me. "It's not news that bank customers are electing to use more convenient forms of electronic banking, industry-wide. It's not just PNC." The bank will also keep building updated branches, as it did last year in Cherry Hill, N.J., she added.

Since the advent of the automatic-teller machine in the late 1970s, PNC has periodically announced it expects to close branches in developed markets, while continuing to acquire additional banks and branches in areas of the country that are growing faster than its faded industrial heartland. PNC closed 65 branches last year.

Added the Banker: "Demchak announced last month that he will try to cut PNC's expenses by $700 million in 2013... PNC's branch network represents about one-third of the company's total expenses, and executives hope that its investment in technology will lower those costs over the long term."