Most of the branches will close in April, but TD booked US$76-million in related costs in the fiscal first quarter. The bank also expects another US$60-million in costs from the closings during its second quarter.
TD has the largest branch network of any Canadian bank, with 1,087 locations in Canada and 1,228 in the U.S., as of Jan. 31. The closings in the U.S. are a more significant move to reduce its size and cut costs, “relative to the normal pruning we would do annually for the last several years,” said Greg Braca, president and chief executive officer of TD’s U.S. division, on a conference call with analysts.
The bank may close a “more modest” number of branches in Canada, comparable with “what you would see from us on an ongoing basis,” said Teri Currie, head of Canadian personal banking.
Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a sharp acceleration in the rate at which banking customers use online and mobile tools, Canada’s banks have mostly elected to hang on to their extensive networks of bricks-and-mortar branches.
In March, TD temporarily shut 40 per cent of its branches – Canadian and U.S. – in an effort to control the novel coronavirus. But nearly all of those locations have reopened, and there is still strong demand from some clients to bank in person.
“We’re seeing many of our customers return into the store, and we’re bullish on that,” Mr. Braca said. “You’ll see markets in future years where we continue to invest in new stores. But what you’re also seeing is the need for investing in digital capabilities, and we’re doing just that.”
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