Greenwich bank branch closes, property sells for $1.4 million
As part of the bank’s plans to shutter hundreds of branches by the end of 2018, Wells Fargo has closed its location at 21 North Water St., in the Byram section of Greenwich. Last week, a Stamford-based family bought the property for $1.375 million with plans to find a local business to take over the space, according to attorney Howard Wolfe, who represented the buyer.
The new property owner, who also owns other commercial properties around Greenwich and Stamford, according to Wolfe, is marketing the space for rent and hopes to fill it with a local business, such as retail or food service, to “serve the nearby neighborhood.”
The Wells Fargo branch was “consolidated” last June into nearby branches in Port Chester, N.Y., and Greenwich, according to Wells Fargo spokesman Kevin Friedlander.
Wells Fargo ranks as the financial institution boasting the most branches, per an analysis published by industry publication The Motley Fool last summer. At the time, quarterly earnings reports showed Wells Fargo numbered 5,977 branches, with JPMorgan Chase operating 5,217 and Bank of America having 4,559.
Wells Fargo has since decreased that count to 5,900 through closures and consolidations, Friedlander said. “As is the case here, we also announced that many of the closures would be ones in close proximity to other branches,” he said, citing Wells Fargo’s nearby Greenwich branches on West Putnam Avenue, Lafayette Place and Glenville Road.
Employees were “shifted to other locations,” Friedlander said, adding “there were no displacements associated with the consolidation.”
Wells Fargo runs roughly 70 branches in Connecticut, according to its website, and it’s not alone in shuttering bank locations as customers increasingly use online resources. In contrast to retail brands abandoning brick-and-mortar storefronts, bank closures likely don’t signal dire futures for financial institutions, some industry analysts have said.
While total assets at FDIC-insured commercial banks rose between 2016 and 2017, according to FDIC data, banks have been closing branches in record numbers. Since 2008, banks have closed more than 10,000 branches, according to an Economist report published last year.
Many banks offer similar explanations as Friedlander gave for Wells Fargo’s reasoning to close one of its Greenwich branches.
“Wells Fargo is continuously evaluating its branch network, and our physical distribution strategy is driven by customer behavior, market factors, economic trends and competitor actions,” he said. “While branches continue to be important in serving our customers’ needs, our investment in digital capabilities has also enabled us to seamlessly serve our customers across channels and provide choice in how they bank with us.”
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