Sunday, August 1, 2021
Home » News » Local News » Harris Township Supervisors Criticize Bank Closure

Harris Township Supervisors Criticize Bank Closure

People living in Boalsburg will no longer have a bank in town, as First National Bank is planning to close the branch.

Located at 400 E. Boal Ave., the bank will consolidate with the Hills Plaza Office, 1811 South Atherton St., on Aug 27, according to Jennifer M. Reel, senior vice president and director of corporate communication for First National Bank.

“We continually evaluate our branch network to ensure it is optimized and operating efficiently. Based on our established evaluation process, which examines factors including convenience, consumer banking preferences, operating costs, proximity to other locations and more, we decided to consolidate our Boalsburg office,” Reel said in an email response.

The ATM at the bank will remain open for a period of time after the closure.

The coming closure drew criticism from Harris Township supervisors during Monday’s board meeting.

“I know we can’t do anything about it, but it concerns me,” board chairman Dennis Hameister said. “This is an institution that has been here for many, many years. I think losing a bank loses a bit of stability in the township.”

Board member Frank Harden said that he believes the move is part of a trend of fewer brick-and-mortar banks as they move toward online banking.

“The other thing to look at is, that we cannot go to another bank in Harris Township,” Harden said. “We don’t have a bank. That is the last bank we have in Harris Township, so although I hate to see it happen, I think it is kind of the writing on the wall.”

First National Bank is headquartered in Hermitage. In 2008, FNB acquired local Omega Financial Corporation in a merger and all 64 Omega Bank took on the First National name, including the Boalsburg branch.

Around the county, FNB closed the Rebersburg branch in 2011, the Snow Shoe branch in 2016 and the Centre Hall branch in March 2019.

“When they closed Rebersburg, they said go to Centre Hall. When they closed Centre Hall they said come to Boalsburg. Now, they close Boalsburg and they keep sending us further down. I just am very uncomfortable with it,” Hameister said.

Board member Nigel Wilson said he feels the bank will lose business from the decision.

“When they finally bought them (Omega) out, then they started carving it up. In my opinion it is just rude, taking a banking center out of a community for a few extra bucks,” Wilson said.

Supervisor Charles Graham said he wondered if any other businesses would move into the location after the closure.

“I have seen that happen a couple of times. A branch moves out and another branch moves in, so maybe we can encourage or give an incentive to have another branch come down here,” Graham said.

The township plans to write a letter to the bank about their concerns about the closure and may consider moving its accounts at FNB to another bank.

FNB said it would be work to help customers as it moves forward with the consolidation.

“Throughout the transition, we are committed to ensuring that our Boalsburg customers’ banking needs continue to be met without disruption,” Reel said. “In addition to our knowledgeable staff and expansive branch network, including the Hills Plaza Office, we provide a comprehensive range of online and mobile banking tools as well as Smart ATMs and ATMs with TellerChat so that customers are able to access their accounts 24/7 – regardless of location.”

This story appears in the June 17-23 edition of The Centre County Gazette.