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Chase branch expansion continues as BofA scales back

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is pressing ahead with an expansion of its California branch network even as Bank of America Corp. plans to close some less profitable offices.

The Chase Bank parent is saying that it intends to open about 100 branches this year in California and should have more than 900 branches in the state by the end of the year. Southern California is to get about 65 new offices, Northern California 20 and Central California 15, Chase said.

Jamie dimon Most of Chase's California branches were obtained in the New York bank's 2008 acquisition of Washington Mutual Inc.

It said last year that it planned to add “hundreds more.” California remains a “high-priority growth market,” Pablo Sanchez, the head of Chase's Western branch network, said Monday in the expansion announcement.

The expansion contrasts with a downsizing of offices at Bank of America, whose consumer banking executive, Joe Price, told an investor conference last month that BofA would close nearly 10% of its branches.

Asked about JPMorgan Chase's expansion, Price said his Charlotte, N.C.-based bank already had plenty of offices “in the places that we really should be.”

Bank of America spokeswoman Tara Burke said BofA has 978 offices in California. The bank would not disclose how many of those branches would be closed.

In an analysis of regulatory data published Saturday, the Charlotte Observer said Bank of America closed 43 branches in the first quarter of this year and has filed notices to close 68 more. Of those 111 closings in 26 states, 16 were in Michigan, 10 in New Jersey, eight in California and seven each in New York and Texas, the analysis found.

Wells Fargo & Co.'s takeover of Wachovia Corp. gave it the most branches in California. The San Francisco bank has 1,043 officials in the state and sees some opportunity to open a few more in Southern California, said Lisa Stevens, Wells Fargo's retail president for California.

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Big banks have new competition in state

-- E. Scott Reckard

Photo: JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon. Credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times

 
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