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Northwest Bank plans to close 24 branches, none in Erie or Niagara counties

Northwest Bank’s parent company plans to close 24 of its branches by midyear and convert two full-service offices into drive-up only locations.

None of the affected locations is in Erie or Niagara counties, said Shawn Walker, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Warren, Pa.-based Northwest Bancshares.

Walker said the bank hopes to release the list of impacted locations probably later this week after it notifies its customers.

Northwest has eight branches in Erie and Niagara counties, and plans to add a location in Orchard Park this year.

Walker said Northwest has invested heavily in online and mobile banking, ATMs and automated telephone banking, giving customers more options to conduct business outside branches and beyond normal business hours.

“The transaction volumes in certain locations has really slowed down,” he said.

Walker said other Northwest locations are typically in close proximity to the branches that will be closed.

Northwest expects to incur $5 million in charges related to the consolidation during the first half of this year, and expects to generate annual savings of $5 million to $6 million starting in 2017. Northwest has 176 full-service locations in Pennsylvania, New York State, Ohio and Maryland, plus five free-standing drive-up facilities in Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, Northwest’s fourth quarter profits dropped 7 percent from a year ago, impacted by the costs of a merger completed last August.

The bank reported net income of $16.2 million. During the quarter, Northwest incurred $1.3 million in expenses related to its purchase of LNB Bancorp, the largest such acquisition in its history.

Northwest reported diluted earnings per share of 16 cents, down from 19 cents a year ago.

For all of 2015, Northwest’s net income fell 2.3 percent to $60.5 million. The full-year figures were impacted in part by $9.8 million in acquisition expenses from the LNB deal.