Community Bank now has closed one-third of its Allegany County, NY, branches since purchasing Steuben Trust a little over two years ago.
Andover and Angelica, which had been on a reduced schedule, were mothballed last weekend, joining the closure last spring of Canaseraga and a branch in Wellsville, just a short distance from a former Steuben branch on State Route 417 West.
Branches in Canisteo and North Hornell also were shuttered last year.
The actions have drawn fire from senior citizens during recent Town Hall meetings conducted by the Allegany County Office for the Aging and Age-Friendly Allegany County, with older adults in Canaseraga lamenting in August that they now have to travel to Arkport or Angelica, which has just closed, to bank. One attendee complained that the ATM in Arkport often doesn’t work.
The subject also came up at Angelica this week during the Town Hall meeting there, with attendees saying they now have to travel to Belfast, where a bridge crossing the Genesee River is closed, or to Belmont.
Seniors in Angelica are waiting to determine if a recent community meeting in regard to a new AMS Energy convenience store coming to the village will produce some type of banking operation in addition to an ATM.
They appeared to be resigned to having to wait for an unknown period of time for an answer.
The Allegany County Board of Legislators, at a July meeting at the Allegany County Fair – New York in Angelica, passed a quickly-drawn resolution asking New York Governor Kathy Hochul and the State Legislature to undertake an investigation into closure of bank branches in rural counties.
Legislators noted that although a growing number of banking consumers are adopting online and mobile banking, “many rural counties are unable to provide their consumers access to broadband internet and cellular phone service that is sufficient, reliable, or affordable, creating a roadblock to banking activities ….”
It also said that elimination of bank branches in rural counties is a loss to the affected communities, and can lead to frustration and disruption within those areas, particularly noting the negative impacts on small businesses, seniors and those lacking consistent and reliable transportation.
There is no indication that the requested action is being undertaken by the state, with Allegany Hope Community News noting at the time that Community Bank and most others are regulated by the federal government.
Community Bank, which currently continues to maintain two branches in Wellsville, along with one each in Alfred, Bolivar, Belmont, Cuba, Belfast and Fillmore, has framed its closure announcements in various locations, including those outside Allegany County, as being actions meeting the overall needs within its communities.
The recently-closed branches at Angelica and Andover had been on reduced schedules for months, open only two or three days a week.
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