Bank Of America To Close Chatham Office

By: Tim Wood

The Bank of America office on Old Harbor Road in Chatham will close March 27. TIM WOOD PHOTO

CHATHAM – For the second time this year, a nation-wide bank is closing a local office.

The Bank of America financial center at 168 Old Harbor Rd. will close March 27. The bank's ATM kiosk at 908 Main St. will remain open. Employees at the branch will be transferred to the bank's Orleans office.

A handout given to bank customers directs them to locations in South Dennis and Orleans.

“We constantly adapt our financial center network to fit clients' changing needs and habits,” bank spokesman Trevor Koenig said in an email statement. “Our goal is to provide the right network of financial centers and ATMs for our clients to do their banking.”

Last January, TD Bank closed its branch office at 693 Main St. The property was purchased by Eastward Companies Business Trust for $855,000 on Dec. 14. Recently the planning board approved a subdivision plan for the property; a single-family home will be built on the lot fronting on Queen Anne Road, while the former bank building will remain commercial.

The Bank of America branch was built in 1984. The property is owned by FNBC Realty Corp., a division of the bank, which is headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. The future of the property was not addressed by Koenig.

The bank handout provided no further information about the reason for the closure. Koenig said customers are increasingly using mobile and online banking services because of the conveniences they offer.

“As more clients do their traditional banking outside of financial centers, financial centers are increasingly used to address more substantial yet infrequent client needs, like planning for retirement, securing a loan or establishing a banking relationship for their small business,” he wrote.

Bank of America is the second large bank in the country, according to Bankrate.com, with more than $2 trillion in assets. The bank has approximately 46 million consumer and small business customers, with relationships at 4,600 banking centers nationwide. There are 226 Bank of America financial centers in Massachusetts along with 1,185 ATMs, according to the bank's website. Koenig said nationwide, the bank has 23 million mobile banking customers and more than 34 million who access banking services online.

Big banks are closing local offices nationally, said Leslie Richardson, chief economic development officer at the Cape Cod Commission, “particularly in smaller towns.” Online banking is likely part of the reason along with cost cutting, she said.

Closing local branches has more of an impact on businesses than consumers, she added, since businesses often do more face-to-face banking then individuals. Local bankers also understand the quirks of the Cape's seasonal economy, which may not be the case with larger banks, she said. The closures therefore may create an opportunity for the Cape's local banks.

Robert Talerman, first executive vice president at the Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank, said while he could not comment on the strategies of competitors, his bank is committed to the local community. Its Chatham branch is strong, with a solid customer base, and the bank actually opened new locations recently, he said.