Braxton Citizens' News, Opinion

Branch banks closing…

I had heard a rumor several days ago that Peoples Bank was going to close their branches in Sutton and Burnsville. The date conveyed in those messages indicated the move would happen in July. I was pretty confident of my source, so I contacted an official of the bank but was told that no decision had been made.

However, that apparently was not correct information since I now understand that bank employees were officially notified within a couple of days of my call. I am disappointed that I was not able to get accurate and timely information to combat or confirm the rumors when I first heard them. I guess that’s what happens when local entities are owned by big conglomerates headquartered outside the state.

I guess I’m old school. After 50 years of doing business with the Bank of Gassaway change does not come easy. When John Heater owned the bank, it was much the same. Those 40 plus years ruined me. Premiers’ ownership brought about big changes. Some of it was good. I particularly like the electronic banks, even thought my initial thoughts were the opposite. Other changes were too drastic for this ole customer. I was hopeful that Peoples would be a positive change. I was told, by people in the industry, that they, Peoples, were very community oriented, and I was optimistic when they took over. I even persuaded one friend not to change his mortgage loan until after the ownership change. 

Closing these branchs does little to reinforce Peoples’ commitment to the local area. I know that the Sutton Branch is highly used. I seldom do normal banking at Flatwoods. Yes, I realize it is close, which is probably the business reason for closing Sutton, but with gasoline over $4 per gallon, I will not be driving the six-mile round trip for daily office deposits. I have been a devoted supporter of that bank, under all its owners, for five decades and was hoping for better treatment, communications, and service.

In my mind, closing these branches at this time is a bad move. It may be good for Peoples in a business sense, but it certainly stinks in the realm of public service. I know it will be inconvenient for hundreds of customers who patronize the Sutton Branch. Some like me will be left with no alternative but to explore the options.

Obviously, Peoples Banks really doesn’t care about my opinion. But, even if they won’t talk to me about the change, it doesn’t mean I have to like it! Shame on you Peoples… your Sutton customers deserve better.