Banking

Bank of America is expanding into a new U.S. market

Bank of America has agreed to pay $8.9 million to settle Securities and Exchange Commission allegations that its Merrill Lynch unit failed to disclose a conflict of interest to customers with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.
Bank of America has agreed to pay $8.9 million to settle Securities and Exchange Commission allegations that its Merrill Lynch unit failed to disclose a conflict of interest to customers with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake. AP

Bank of America said Monday it plans to put branches in Pittsburgh, joining other cities into which the bank has expanded its branch network in recent years.

The Charlotte-based company said it has signed leases in three locations across the Pittsburgh region and that additional branches and stand-alone automated teller machines are scheduled to open over the next few years.

It continues a recent trend at Bank of America of entering new U.S. markets with branches, which began in 2015 when it cut the ribbon on a location in Denver, Colo.

Since then, the bank has expanded its branches into the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metro area – and, just this month, announced the opening of its first Indianapolis location.

Under CEO Brian Moynihan, the bank’s strategy remains to put branches in new markets where Bank of America is already serving other types of clients.

In Pittsburgh, for example, the bank said it has commercial and business clients, as well as those receiving wealth-management services from its Merrill Lynch unit.

Moynihan, speaking to analysts and investors on the bank’s fourth-quarter conference call this month, said that in 2017 the bank opened 30 new branches across the U.S.

Of those, 25 were in areas not previously served by retail branches but where the bank has an existing wealth-management or commercial-banking presence. Also last year, the bank renovated nearly 300 branches, Moynihan said.

The moves come even as the bank continues a years-long trend of closing branches in other markets.

At the end of last year, Bank of America had 4,470 U.S. branches, down 109 from the end of 2016.

In Pittsburgh, Bank of America said its three new branch locations will be in South Hills, at 1801 Washington Road; East Side, at the southeast corner of Baum Boulevard and South Euclid Avenue; and in Wexford, on Perry Highway.

South Hills and Wexford locations will be the first to open, in late 2018.

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts

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