BankFinancial ends experiment on 55th Street

By JEFFREY BISHKU-AYKUL
Staff Writer

BankFinancial will close its branch at 5500 S. Lake Park Ave. on Jan. 2.

The BankFinancial location — one of two in Hyde Park, including another at 1345 E. 55th St. — was unveiled by the company as an ebranch in spring 2012. The Burr Ridge-based company’s tellerless concept was meant to capitalize on a shift away from brick-and-mortar banking and toward online banking services.

Since last year, BankFinancial’s new concept has expanded and contracted. Three other ebranches have closed and the Hyde Park location is the company’s last remaining one, according to Gregg Adams, executive vice president of marketing and sales.

In a Dec. 6 e-mail to the Herald, Adams cited a lack of business as the main reason for its closing.

“We recently converted the smaller location to the ebranch concept in an attempt to retain the facility. However, usage continued to decline,” he said.

“We liked the visibility provided by this location,” Adams said. He added, however, “It was simply too close to the fully staffed branch down the street.”

Adams told the Herald in 2012, shortly after the Hyde Park ebranch opened, that while branch traffic has declined as a result of online banking, customers “still want the convenience of a branch.”

“We’ve had a total of four e-Branches over the last five years and some were more successful than others, but all were considered an experiment. In the case of the Hyde Park e-Branch, customers generally did not embrace the concept and simply migrated to the full service branch location at 1354 East 55th Street which offers a drive up and ample parking.”

BankFinancial will continue to operate 19 branches throughout the Chicago area after its Lake Park Avenue location closes early next year.

j.bishku@hpherald.com