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Bank of America leans in digital age

Katie Tabeling
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Bank of America

Bank of America has been pivoting to financial centers that provide technology and access to financial education resources, with specialists on hand to help guide clients. | DBT PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING

WILMINGTON – Bank of America, the second largest bank in America, is looking to grow its digital footprint to meet consumers  – and Delaware could fit into that picture in the long run.

While Bank of America will be moving out of Wilmington and relocating 500 employees to other Delaware locations, Bank of America Delaware Market President Chip Rossi stressed that as more clients are logging in to digital services, there’s going to be a stronger need to pivot to online services.

Bank of America reported a 11% increase of online banking between 2022 and 2023, with 57 million digital users. More clients are using cash transfer smartphone apps like Zelle, owned by seven banks including Bank of America. In particular, Zelle processed 1.24 billion payments from Bank of America clients, valued at $373 billion last year.

“What you’re seeing is clients want to be able to bank anywhere and whenever,” Rossi told the Delaware Business Times. “We’re really trying to bring not only a footprint in our markets, but more importantly, investing in our digital capabilities.”

Bank of America is one of Delaware’s largest employers with roughly 6,000 employees, with the large portion serving clients either in the call center or other behind-the-scenes functions. Rossi estimates that one in four people in the state do business with Bank of America, whether it’s through deposits, credit cards or a mortgage.

The bank has nine offices in Delaware $2.6 billion in local deposits as of 2023, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

In the last decade, Bank of America has been pivoting to financial centers that provide technology and access to financial education resources, with specialists on hand to help guide clients. Those sources may pay off in dividends as economists continue to warn about a looming recession from consumers outspending their savings.

Bank of America’s own internal data from 60 million clients found that it rose 2.9% year over year in February, but consumers are slowing down on the “buy now, pay later” patterns and delinquency rates are falling. 

“I think what you’ll see from Bank of America is focusing on where we potentially expand in a targeted way. It may not be exponential, it may be a finance center here or there that complements our digital services to meet clients and empowers them by having that access right at their fingertips,” Rossi said.

When it comes to Bank of America’s presence in the First State, that picture is still changing. The financial giant will be relocating 500 employees out of the final building in the Bracebridge complex, which it inherited from MBNA. The sprawling complex was designed to accommodate 10,000 employees.

Rossi said the decision was driven by workforce flexibility and not all the space of the building at 1100 N. French Street was being used.

“The bottom line is that this is about how we optimize space habits in Delaware. We had a great opportunity in the Deerfield and Christiana campus to do that – and hopefully we’ll be in a win-win situation again and can donate the building,” he said. “I am optimistic that once the process is done, the building will be occupied and vibrant – which is what we want for the city.”

 

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