Atlanta-Based Sun Trust Bank to Close 40 Branches

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    Despite profits jumping 203 percent for 2012, Sun Trust Bank, which is based in Atlanta, is planning to close “about 40 branches” in the first quarter of 2013.

    The closures were announced by Sun Trsut Chairman and CEO William Henry Rogers at a Citigroup U.S. Financial Services Conference March 5.

    “Branch staffing is down by 14 percent since 2010, and we’ve also begun trimming our branch network,” Rogers told analysts.

    The bank closed 43 branches in 2012 and will do the same in the first quarter of this year.

    The company also expects more closures in 2013. It expects to cut down the overall number of grocery store partners, but will retain partnerships with large grocery store chains in Atlanta and around the country.

    “There’ll be some additional closures throughout 2013, with more than half of them expected to come from our in-store network,” Rogers said. “We’ll be reducing the overall number of our grocer partners but maintain our long-standing key partnerships, such as Publix, Safeway, Kroger and Walmart.”

    At the end of 2012, SunTrust had 1,616 branches and expects to have 1,580 branches in the first quarter of 2013, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission March 5.

    Rogers told analysts the bank had “reevaluated our branch infrastructure” after more clients had shifted to self-service channels such as mobile and online banking platforms.

    “It’s also enabled us to reduce cost,” he added.

    However, branches remain an important part of a banking relationship, he said. “They’re still where most new products are sold and where clients typically go to resolve a problem. So while the role of the branch may be changing, they remain a key sales and service distribution channel.”

    Sun Trust saw impressive numbers last year, recording profit of $1.96 billion profit for 2012 and its assets totaling $173.4 billion.

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