Retail Banking is looking for more efficiency. Bricks and mortar barnaches are expensive and can easily become white elephants when underlying socio-economic metrics change.
Banks have responded by outright closures, sometimes just reducing hours or services. With the internet on-line banking has certainly become popular but with its own digital cost structure.
Most retail branches are open Mon to Fri with some modest extension for suppertime traffic and very limited service on weekends. However this is when the 9-5 consumer has real-time to meet with a service agent of some description and solidify a relationship.
Close the branches early in the morning. Everyone just wants a Starbucks not a car loan. Keep you branches open later in the day when consumers have time to meet with you. Weekends as well.
Some extremely small branches will be rationalized no doubt. But if you are in the retail business than you need to keep retail hours. Look at what large-scale retailers do. shopping center and retailer space developers would be wise to offer solutions with small retail storefronts and second floor office space with cheaper rent.
When you hear stories of retail rationalization watch for this kind of thinking. It will signal smart management at work.
George Gutowski writes from a caveat emptor perspective.