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The U.S. Bank branch in uptown. The bank has two branches in Charlotte and plans to open two more within the next year.

Courtesy of U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank is set to open two more branches within the next year as the bank moves forward with expansion efforts in Charlotte.

The first new branch, at 9836 Rea Rd. in Blakeney, will open Oct. 25. The next, at 4525 Sharon Rd. across from SouthPark, is set to open in the spring.

It’s part of the Minneapolis-based bank’s long-term plans to continue growing its presence in Charlotte, said Dee O’Dell, regional executive for consumer and business banking in the east region.

“We see the growth potential here,” he said. “This (city) has been a great hub for us for multiple lines of business.”

U.S. Bank opened its first Charlotte branch at 201 S. Tryon St. in October 2019 and originally planned an aggressive retail expansion strategy, aiming to open 10 branches across the city by the end of 2020.

But the pandemic provided a chance to reevaluate, O’Dell said, as customers shifted away from in-person appointments and transactions.

“We still have in mind that our ultimate build-out in Charlotte will probably be around 10 branches,” he said. “But we’re going to continue to evaluate that and move at a slower pace.”

The SouthPark location will be the bank’s fourth Charlotte branch, O’Dell said. The two new branches will also be the first U.S. Bank locations in the area to offer drive-up service.

U.S. Bank employs about 950 people in Charlotte. That number has grown by about 150 since late 2019 — and the bank plans to increase that headcount, O’Dell said.

“We continue to find great talent in Charlotte, so we fully expect that we will see that number continue to grow over the next several years,” he said.

‘A competitive environment’

U.S. Bank isn’t the only bank with plans to keep growing in Charlotte as competition in the Queen City’s banking industry heats up once again.

Detroit-based Ally Financial has a new tower on Tryon Street and has hired hundreds of new employees. New York-based JP Morgan Chase opened its first branch in uptown last year directly across from the Bank of America headquarters. And Truist, formerly SunTrust and BB&T, brought a second bank headquarters to Charlotte in 2019.

Bank of America, Truist and Wells Fargo still hold the majority of deposits in the region. But O’Dell said U.S. Bank already has more than 40,000 local customers, many of whom have a loan or credit cards with U.S. Bank in addition to their primary bank.

And so far he’s pleased with the bank’s growth in Charlotte. “It is a competitive environment,” he said. “But what we have found is that the growth and the success of those (first) two branches have exceeded our expectations.”

New role of branches

The new U.S. Bank branches in Charlotte will look different than a traditional branch, said Ashley Cumberbatch, Charlotte district manager.

Rather than teller windows with glass walls separating staff members from customers, branch patrons will be greeted at the door and directed to one of a few different stations designed for more direct and conversational interactions with staff, she said. The branches will also include “digital discovery centers” designed to demonstrate mobile and digital banking features.

The design is reflective of the new role that physical branches play for customers, she said, as many shift to do the majority of their banking online.

“That has been the feedback from our customers: that they like the flexibility (of digital banking), they like the convenience,” she said. “But they still need that human interaction, that guidance from our local bankers.”

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