Chase to close two south-side branches, including one designed by noted architect

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A bank branch designed by Evans Woollen III at 7001 Madison Ave. (Image courtesy of Google)

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. has notified regulators that it plans to close two bank branches on the south side of Indianapolis, including one designed by one of Indiana’s most renowned architects more than 60 years ago.

The branches are both standalone buildings at busy intersections: 7001 Madison Ave., at the corner of Madison Avenue and Southport Road; and 8120 S. Meridian St., at the corner of Meridian Street and East Meridian School Road.

By law, a bank must notify the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency 90 days in advance of a planned closure. Chase notified the OCC about both closures on Aug. 29. A notice sent to customers of the Madison Avenue branch indicates that location is set to close Dec. 1. No closure date was available for the Meridian Street branch.

According to Indiana Historical Society records, the 7001 Madison Ave. building, which was built in 1962, was designed by the late Evans Woollen III, who was responsible for the architectural work on many of the city’s most distinctive buildings, including Clowes Memorial  Hall at Butler University (1963), the Minton Capehart Federal Building on North Pennsylvania Street (1976), Barton Tower on Massachusetts Avenue (1968) and the addition to the Indianapolis-Marion County Central Library (2007).

Woollen, who died in 2016, is often credited for bringing the modernism movement and Brutalist architecture to Indianapolis.

Property records show the 3,745-square-foot Madison Avenue branch was opened by American Fletcher National Bank and Trust Co.—a predecessor to J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Woollen had family ties to American Fletcher, and many of his early commercial works were branches for the bank that broke the traditional mode.

His grandfather, Evans Woollen, founded the Fletcher Savings and Trust Co. in 1912. His father, Evans Woolen Jr., served was president of the Fletcher Trust Co. and successor American Fletcher National Bank from the 1930s until his death in 1959.

Under the leadership of the late executive Frank McKinney Jr., American Fletcher Corp. became the largest bank holding company in the state and merged with with Banc One Corp. in 1986.  J.P. Morgan Chase acquired Bank One Corp. in 2004 for $58 billion.

Chase said it was still determining plans for the closed properties.

Property records show the 4,143-square-foot South Meridian branch, which was built in 1972, was sold to Indiana Properties Inc. in early September.

“We continue to optimize our branch network as customers’ needs evolve,”  Chase said in an email to IBJ about the closures. “Sometimes, we relocate a branch to a new site due to low foot traffic, branch overlap, or as customers turn more to digital channels. Our goal is not to have the most branches–but to have the right branches in the right communities, serving the financial needs of our customers. Of note, we are rebuilding the branch in White River (565 S. State Road 135), which is in the general area–less than three miles from South Meridian.”

Chase has not notified the OCC of any other pending branch closures in the Indianapolis market.

Within the past 12 months Chase has closed five locations in the Indianapolis market and opened two others.

Chase is the largest bank in the Indianapolis area. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s most recent deposit market share report, Chase had $17.6 billion in deposits, or 21.2% of total deposits,  in the Indianapolis/Carmel/Anderson metro area as of June 30, 2022.

Chase had 66 offices and about 1,400 employees in the Indianapolis area as of April, according to IBJ research.

In comparison, the second-largest bank in the market is PNC Bank, with $14.3 billion in local deposits and 56 offices, according to IBJ research.

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2 thoughts on “Chase to close two south-side branches, including one designed by noted architect

  1. Evans Woollen III, the guy to blame for no center aisle at Clowes. Also, the guy to thank for all that extra leg room.

    A center aisle would have been nice, but I sure like that extra leg room.

    Morale of the story, get seats closer to the aisle than the center.

    Tweeners seats if you will : )

    1. Haha. I think you mean “moral” of the story.

      Separately, Minton Capehart building is undeniably the ugliest building in town.