60% of US banking customers prefer to visit the branch when opening accounts

60% of American users would rather open a checking account in person at a bank branch than doing it over a phone, tablet or desktop computer, according to research from consulting firm Novantas.

The survey also found that half of US customer think that online-only banks are “less legitimate” than those with brick and mortar locations. According to Novantas researchers, the preference for branches stems from a need to have someone there to solve any problems as they occur.

“Folks are still hanging onto this comfort of feeling like there is a branch nearby if, and when, they need it,” said Matthew Sharp of Novantas, quoted by Reuters.

Related: Wells Fargo plots 900 branch closures

The findings, according to Novantas, mean that US banks can afford to keep branches open and still have advantage over online-only challengers when signing customers for main accounts.

Major US banks JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America have both made moves to increase their branch footprint in new cities. JP Morgan plans to add as many as 400 branches to its network over the next five years as it moves into Boston and Washington D.C.

Novantas surveyed 4,352 people, contacted by email, for its report.

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