WSFS Financial Corporation and Beneficial Bancorp, Inc. announced a retail banking office plan that will close 25 percent of the combined company’s branches, but will retain staff and raise minimum pay to $15 an hour.
The bulk of the closings will take place in Philadelphia and the suburbs.
A release stated that “rapid adoption and usage of digital services, geographic overlap and optimization opportunities” will lead to the office closings. Visits to branch offices have been declining as new technology such as deposits via smartphone take hold.
Three Delaware offices will close in 2020 in Felton, University Plaza south of Newark and Pike Creek.
As reported earlier, WSFS also committed to reinvesting $32 million of the estimated cost savings into a five-year investment in technology and delivery systems.
According to the release, teams from both institutions conducted an extensive analysis of the combined franchise.
WSFS will consolidate 14 Beneficial and 11 WSFS retail banking offices.
WSFS also plans to sell five additional retail banking offices located on the outer edges of the combined core footprint.
Most closings will occur at the conversion of Beneficial Bank into WSFS Bank, which is expected to occur in August 2019.
According to the release, 80 percent of the offices to be closed are less than three miles from remaining locations, including nearly a third that are less than a mile away.
WSFS is offering jobs to all Beneficial and WSFS staff at the affected offices within the Retail Division of WSFS Bank. WSFS will also raise the minimum wage across the combined organization to WSFS’ current minimum of $15 an hour.
The merger will make WSFS the largest, premier, longest-standing, locally-headquartered community bank for the Greater Delaware Valley with approximately $13 billion in assets.
“We have worked quickly, but diligently, on our plan to combine our two institutions, which included identifying the retail space that will best help us deliver top-tier quality services and solutions for Customers across the Delaware Valley,” said Rodger Levenson, WSFS’ executive vice president and chief operating officer, who will become CEO on January 1. “This retail banking office optimization initiative and our planned technology reinvestment, combined with a larger balance sheet and an intimate knowledge of the market, affirms our unique position to fill a long-standing gap between big banks and smaller community banks in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington MSA.”
WSFS has posted on its website (wsfsbank.com/beneficial) the 25 retail banking offices that are slated to consolidate as part of the retail banking office optimization plan.
WSFS will begin communicating these consolidations and other merger-related information to Beneficial and WSFS Customers in the first quarter of 2019 after the combination receives regulatory approval and the deal closes.