In a letter to Bradenton customers, the Bank of America announced it’s closing the downtown Bradenton branch at 1201 6th Ave. W.
Harry Bakker, 72, owns the building under Bakker Inc. and is trying to sell it as a part of an $18.5 million portfolio of properties. Bakker Inc. has owned the Bank of America building for about 15 years, and the portfolio was listed for sale before the Bank of America announced its decision to vacate downtown Bradenton.
“The bank is constantly looking at our financial center network and making adjustments based on customer preferences and behaviors and how they prefer to bank,” Bank of America spokesman Matthew Daily said. “That's what's happening here: As more and more customers are using online banking and mobile banking and technology, fewer of them are coming into brick and mortar locations because they prefer to bank in other ways.”
The downtown branch will consolidate with the closest of two Bank of America branches on Manatee Avenue West. All branches, including the downtown location, are within 4 miles of each other. Bank of America also has a Bradenton branch at 3401 Cortez Road W. Other nearby branches are located in Palmetto and East Manatee.
In the 6th Avenue building, Bank of America occupies the first floor with a commercial division on the fourth floor. The 41,600-square-foot building was built in 1967, according to Manatee County property records. Other tenants include subrogation firm DKA Inc., Custom Computer & Network Solutions, The Dentz Group and several law offices.
“I was just recently advised that Bank of America was not renewing the lease for the bank branch but will extend their lease for the 4th and 5th floor space,” Marcus & Millichap Vice President of Investments Ray Turchi said in an email. Turchi is the listing agent for the property at 1201 6th Ave. W, which is 85 percent occupied.
The branch’s last day open is Nov. 15, the June 10 letter informed customers. For questions, customers were directed to call 888-562-1000.
1,400 number of Bank of America branches closed since 2008
Portfolio for sale
Other Manatee County properties in Bakker’s portfolio include buildings at 2424 Manatee Ave. W., 816 Manatee Ave. E., 1851 67th Ave. E. and 6620 19th St. E.
Bakker said he’s ready to sell the properties so he can move on with his life. Bakker Inc. was a company run by Betty Bakker, his wife of 48 years who passed away last fall. Harry Bakker is the executor of his wife’s estate and said he discussed the decision with their four sons.
“I decided to put my entire portfolio on the market to see if there is any interest,” Bakker said. “My desire is to sell the entire portfolio to one person and not piecemail it out.” Selling the properties would “lessen my stress level,” he said. So far, there have been a few bites, but Bakker isn’t entirely confident the portfolio will sell.
“Whether or not this will happen, I don't think so, but you never know,” Bakker said. “The possibility of this stuff selling is probably remote.”
As for the other tenants in the Bank of America building, Bakker said he doesn’t expect to see them leave even if the building is sold.
“Nobody wants an empty building. And 99.9 percent of the time, tenants stay behind,” he said. It’s likely he’ll sign another bank to lease the Bank of America space, he said, if the building doesn’t sell before the Bank of America leaves in November.
18.7 millionnumber of Bank of America customers who used online banking in 2015
Cutbacks, stress test
The Charlotte-based Bank of America, member of the U.S.’s “Big Four” banks, announced thousands of cuts in consumer banking employees earlier this month. A Bank of America top executive said employees will be added to Bank of America’s sales force in a bid to increase revenue, the Charlotte Observer reported. Since the 2008 financial crisis, Bank of America has shuttered more than 1,400 branches.
According to the Bank of America 2015 annual report, mobile banking use steadily increased by about 2 million users per year since 2012. About 18.7 million of Bank of America’s approximately 57 million customers used mobile banking in 2015.
On Thursday, the Federal Reserve announced that the U.S.’s largest financial institutions have enough armor to withstand the turmoil of a major and prolonged U.S. and global recession. According to the Associated Press, the annual “stress tests” show that the 33 largest financial institutions, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo, all hold more capital than a year earlier. They also hold enough capital that, even if faced with billions of dollars in losses from loans as a result of an economic crisis, they would continue to function.
The stress tests were created in the wake of the financial crisis and subsequent Great Recession. The implosion of the housing market led the U.S. into its worse economic period since the Great Depression. Several large banks failed or were bought in to rescue operations. The losses were so great that U.S. taxpayers had to come to the rescue, at a cost of $700 billion.
This is the sixth round of stress tests the Fed has done, starting in 2009.
Digital banking at Bank of America
During first quarter 2016:
- More than 163,000 accounts were sold through mobile devices, up 50 percent year-over-year
- Existing online banking customers logged on to accounts 900 million times or 46 times per user
- Customers deposited more than 23 million checks with mobile check deposit
- Customers made 24 million mobile bill payments
- Customers made over 70 million transfers via mobile banking, including more than 7 million email and phone transfers
- Customers received more than 230 million text and push alerts
Source: Bank of America first quarter 2016 digital banking fact sheet