Following trends by many in the banking industry, the Bank of Santa Clarita is officially closing its branch office on Golden Valley Road.
The outlet, located at The Plaza at Golden Valley, had not been open to the public save to occasionally meet customers to sign documents on transactions. The bank had been using the branch for administrative reasons, according to the bank’s chief officer.
“Previously it had been a branch, a limited branch, three years ago,” said Frank D. Di Tomaso, executive chairman and CEO of the Bank of Santa Clarita. “For the last two years we just used it for administrative purposes.”
Use of the branch has gradually dropped over the years until the bank decided that in light of its growing mobile banking services, it should just close the branch altogether, he said.
The bank took a charge of $379,000 in early termination costs for the remaining lease, according to its annual earnings report. The lease is good for two more years, according to Di Tomaso.
Closure of the branch comes on the heels of the bank’s launch of a mobile banking app for customers last fall.
“Now people can transfer money online via their cell phone,” he said. “The mobile app gives customers the ability to transact business on the internet and cell phones.”
Di Tomaso also points to studies showing advances in technology leading to the downsizing in the number of branches in the industry.
In one banking news report, it was announced that Wells Fargo expects to close 400 branches – or five percent of its locations – through 2018 to address “changes to customer behavior” as customers increasingly shift to automated systems and online banking.
Locally, in 2008 18 banks operated 54 branches in the Santa Clarita Valley, Di Tomaso said. Today, 14 banks have 45 branches in the region.
In 2015, Mission Valley Bank closed its Valencia branch on W. Avenue Stanford for the same reasons, citing customers migrating away from brick and mortar locations to transact business.
Customer traffic patterns are morphing as a result. At one time some 80 percent of a bank’s business was in-store, Di Tomaso said, and some 20 percent was conducted at ATMs. Today those numbers have nearly flipped, he said.
Ironically, as mobile banking has become more widely accepted, some studies show ATM usage has peaked as well, with customer traffic numbers going down, he said.
Founded in October 2004, Bank of Santa Clarita is the only full service commercial bank headquartered in the Santa Clarita Valley