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Pennsylvania leads way in net bank branch closures

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Pennsylvania led in net bank branches in the last year, according to a new study.

SNL Financial LC released study results this week of net bank branch closings — the combined number of openings versus closings — and found that Pennsylvania had 106 net bank branch closings, and no one else came close.

There were 43 bank branches opened in Pennsylvania from October 2012 to September 2013, but 149 that closed over that time for a total of 106 net closures.

That represented almost 8 percent of the total of net closures in the country over the last year, even though the state’s population is only about 4 percent of the country’s total population.

North Carolina was second with 92 net closures.

Florida led the way with 178 branch closings but countered that with 99 branch openings so that its total was only minus-79. In California, 161 banks closed, but 124 opened.

Pennsylvania’s 149 closings ranked third behind Florida and California. Texas was fourth at 138 branch closings, and Illinois was fifth (115), barely edging out New York (114).

After Pennsylvania and North Carolina, Georgia ranked third-worst for net closings at minus-81.

Two midstate-based banks — Fulton Financial Corp. in Lancaster and Integrity Bancshares Inc. in Camp Hill — rated in the top seven for most active branch openers in the country from July to September. Both opened two branches in the quarter, according to the study.

The Philadelphia metro area finally may have some stabilization, as it had lost 57 net banks in the last year but only had minus-6 in the third quarter.

PNC Financial Services Group Inc., parent company of PNC Bank, closed 105 net branches in the last year, according to the study. The bank has said part of its plan for 2103 was to close and consolidate branches. It closed 67 branches in the second quarter of 2013.

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