WILL THERE BE MAJOR BANK BRANCH CLOSINGS?

As one by one banks are swallowed up by the few financialinstitutions still standing, the question becomes: What about mybank? Will my branch still be there in a month or two? It's a validquestion, and with the announcement that Chase plans to closeseveral WaMu sites, it becomes more and more likely that the answerto the question is no. Certainly many of our poll respondents doubtbank branches will escape unscathed. A staggering 78% expect to seemajor branches close. Only 22% doubt the closures will bewidespread. Mark Zurlini, a principal with Palisades Financial,forsees closures not only in bank branches, but in other businessesas well. Here are his thoughts:

"Now stand the big three: Citigroup, Bank of America andJPMorgan Chase. With each of these banks growing by consolidatingthrough acquisitions, there stands to be overlapping of branches,not only in major cities (Washington Mutual has 139 branches in NewYork City alone that may be closed) but also on Main StreetAmerica. In Main Street locations, the vacated branches will beleased or sold to the many well-capitalized local banks thatbelieve they are positioned to capture deposits and increase theirmarket share with the promise of better customer service.

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