Bank of America’s Sharon Miller is looking forward to a year of more hiring.

“You know what I hear a lot of?” said the bank’s small business banking head. “’Sharon, we need more bankers, we need more bankers!’”

Miller oversees more than 2,500 small business banking specialists across 4,600 branches in 90 different local markets. In the next year she plans to continue hiring more bankers, branch managers and market presidents — as well as staff for the mobile and online businesses, she said, though she didn’t share specific numbers.

And that kind of focus on small business customers could be the future of physical branches. There isn’t very much consumers can do at a branch that they can’t do from home, but there’s a lot of potential for small business customers — a customer segment spending more and more time in branches, at least at Bank of America, which originated more than $11.6 billion in new small business lending in 2016 — a 9 percent year-over-year increase.

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