Electronic Banking Will Zap Branches

The bank, as we know it, is vanishing.

A report released Friday estimates as many as 450,000 bank jobs will disappear in the next five years and half of all US bank branches will be gone in 10 years. The culprit: electronic banking.

Banks have largely succeeded in convincing customers to give up their tellers for the impersonal, but efficient, service of an automated teller machine. Now, the separation between customer and bank is widening as banks put their technology-savvy customers online. These trends are expected to accelerate in coming years, concluded the national consulting firm of Deloitte & Touche, resulting in layoffs and closings of branches across the country.

“Very soon the average customer will rarely go beyond ATMs in bank lobbies,” Frank Woosley, of Deloitte & Touche, said Friday.

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