Even as other financial institutions are closing branches while customers shift their banking online or through mobile devices, two of the largest financial players in the Colorado Springs area are opening traditional "brick-and-mortar" branches.
Both Ent Credit Union and FirstBank plan to open branches late this year in northeast and southwest Colorado Springs, respectively, and Ent plans three more branches in the Springs and Castle Rock during the next year or so.
"Even in the age of online and mobile banking, members still value a physical location where they can receive personal service," said Victoria Selfridge, an Ent spokeswoman. "We want to ensure physical convenience to members as the community continues to grow."
Ent is seeking approval from the city of Colorado Springs to build identical branches northwest of InterQuest Parkway and Federal Drive, near the new Great Wolf Lodge resort, and southeast of Duryea and New Car drives in the Powers Autopark. Both will be full-service branches with safe deposit boxes, teller lines and facilities to offer other banking services.
If the two projects are approved, construction would begin on the first branch in the fall with plans to open by year's end, said Barb Winter, Ent's executive vice president. Ent also plans to open a branch this spring in Castle Rock and two others next year, including the second of the two northeast Colorado Springs locations and one on the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs campus along North Nevada Avenue, she said.
"The growth in the two areas (InterQuest and Powers Autopark) attracted us. We try to be with or ahead of the curve where growth and our membership is," Winter said.
Lakewood-based FirstBank plans to begin construction in May on converting a former quick-lube location into a full-service branch at 425 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd., adjacent to a Chase Bank branch that closed in 2015.
Despite the growth on online and mobile banking, FirstBank still sees "a demand from customers for brick-and-mortar locations, where they can speak in-person about their mortgage or chat about different account options," said bank spokeswoman Chandra Brin.
During the past two years, Colorado Springs area banks have shut down six locations and sought to open one new branch, which was later dropped. The number of branch closings statewide in the past two years are more than double the number of new locations opening, according to filings with the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency's Office and the Colorado Division of Banking.