Bank of America said it plans to hire more than 5,400 people as part of a plan to open more than 500 branches nationwide and refurbish older locations.
The Charlotte-based bank wants to open the branches over the next four years, it said in an announcement this week – in which it also disclosed plans to expand its branch business into Ohio. New branches will be put in new and existing markets, the bank said.
Some of the branches to be refurbished are in the Charlotte region, the bank said, though it did not provide specifics. Bank of America employs about 15,000 in the region across various lines of business. It’s also the No. 1 bank by deposits in the area, just ahead of Wells Fargo.
The plan comes after years of reductions in Bank of America’s total branches to cut costs and adjust to changing customer habits. At the end of 2017, it had 4,500 branches, down from about 6,000 when CEO Brian Moynihan took over in 2010.
Bank of America spokeswoman Betty Riess wouldn’t offer a projection of how many total branches the bank might have by the end of the four years. Federal filings indicate the bank has more closures in the works. Riess said the company is always adjusting its branch network to respond to customer behavior.
Still, Bank of America is adding branches at a time when some of its peers have announced plans to scale back. In January, Wells Fargo said it closed more than 200 branches last year and plans to close another 250 or more branches this year. In a closure that will impact the Charlotte area, Wells said this week it plans to shutter a Statesville branch on May 2.
Bank of America noted this week that nearly 1 million people still visit its branches every day. The locations remain an important destination for clients seeking financial advice, among other things, the bank said.
As for refurbishment plans, Bank of America said it wants to redesign more than 1,500 branches by adding new technology, furnishings and layouts.
In recent years, Bank of America has also eliminated or scaled back teller lines at some locations. But it’s also touted adding other roles, such as sales positions, in branches.
This week, for example, it said its branches have more than 3,500 “digital ambassadors,” employees trained to field customer questions about its expanding mobile and online banking technology.
In Ohio, Bank of America said it will start offering retail banking services in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus.
Last month, Bank of America announced plans to put branches in Pittsburgh. That came after recent announcements to expand branches into the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metro area and Indianapolis.
Andrea Smith, Chief Administrative Officer at Bank of America and co-chair of the Leading on Opportunity council, said during the Charlotte Chamber’s annual economic outlook luncheon in December the business community can help drive economic mobil