Associated Bank to consolidate branches

Associated Banc-Corp announced it will consolidate eight branches in Wisconsin and Illinois.

Green Bay-based Associated, the largest Wisconsin-based bank, will close branches in Fredonia, Valders, Abbotsford, La Crosse, Bellevue and Colgate in the first quarter of 2014. The Illinois branches to be closed are in Waterloo and at Prudential Plaza in Chicago.

The decision was made after an analysis of branch locations and the bank’s retail footprint. Most of the branches being closed are near other Associated branch locations.

“We continuously evolve our overall delivery model to ensure we are matching the changing usage patterns and preferences of our customers,” said David Stein, executive vice president, Retail Banking. “With these consolidations, we are well positioned to provide affected customers with dynamic access to Associated through other area branches, online and mobile banking services, and our customer care representatives who are available by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to assist them with their banking needs.”

In addition, about 50 support positions in La Crosse will be relocated or eliminated in early 2014. The customer care and default services will be moved to the Stevens Point Service Center, while the business resource center and underwriting/lending resources desk will be moved to Milwaukee.

The bank cited the need to manage growing regulatory compliance and risk management demands, as well as efficiencies gained by the relocation. Employees in La Crosse will have the option to relocate with their jobs.

“Our decision to move positions out of La Crosse was not easy,” Stein said. “By centrally locating these positions we will be able to provide higher levels of customer service through increased collaboration and improved turn-around times, while gaining efficiencies associated with our technology and real estate infrastructure.”

Consumer and mortgage loan processing employees in La Crosse will be laid off on Jan. 2 because of the expected decline in mortgage and consumer loans in the market. Those employees have been informed and may have the opportunity to transfer within Associated.

The layoffs, including the LaCrosse employees and branch employees, total less than 25, said a company spokeswoman.

“We don’t have an exact figure because it’s a moving number as people pick up positions elsewhere (in the company),” she said.

Customers will be notified of the closures and alternative branch locations by mail.

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