Bank of America to close Nevada City branch |

Bank of America to close Nevada City branch

Customers of Nevada City’s Bank of America will face a predicament when the town’s only branch closes this coming spring: Travel to Grass Valley to meet with a banking representative or switch to another financial institution.

“(W)e will be closing the banking center in Nevada City in March 2012, due to its close proximity with two nearby banking centers as a means to streamline operations, reduce costs and improve efficiencies,” said Colleen Haggerty, a West Coast spokesperson Bank of America, in an e-mail to The Union.

Nevada City Bank Manager Rick Willoughby refused to comment Tuesday about the branch’s closure and its impact on local customers, directing all inquiries to the banking corporation’s media relations department in Los Angeles.

Based on consolidated assets, Bank of America is the nation’s second largest bank holding company, second only to J.P. Morgan, according to the Federal Reserve System.

Even with the bank’s branch closure, a presence will remain for costumers. Nevada City’s planning commission approved an application for Bank of America to install an ATM at the National Hotel, located at 211 Broad Street.

Bank of America has four branch locations in Nevada County, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Two others are located in Grass Valley, with another in Truckee.

At Bank of America’s March 8 investor conference, former Head of Consumer Banking Joe Prince told an audience that the corporation could close as many as 10 percent of its 5,800 banking branches in coming years, reported Sacramento Business Journal.

Prince was ousted in September.

Bank of America was one of 37 financial institutions downgraded by Standard & Poor’s at the end of November.

Looking at Bank of America Corp’s stock in the last 52 weeks, the price per share has had a steady downward trend toward what is described as the dangerous $5 mark, a price below which many broker-dealers will not allow investors to buy or short a stock on margin, reported CNN Money.

At the end of trading Tuesday, Bank of America’s stock was valued around $5.30 a share, which is down from around $15 in January.

Local customers were notified of the branch closure in a Dec. 9 letter, with the suggestion about full banking services continuing to be available at the Glenbrook Banking Center, located two miles away at 804 Sutton Way in Grass Valley.

Located at 201 Commercial St., the closing Bank of America branch will leave downtown Nevada City without a bank. The only other bank in town is Tri Counties Bank, which took over the former Citizens Bank of Northern California location on Railroad Avenue in Nevada City.

Chief Banking Officer Judy Hess, who was senior vice-president of Citizens Bank, said Tri Counties Bank doesn’t want to turn a blind eye to any possible location opening, but it doesn’t want to walk away from its current location, where Hess said they have had a great relationship with the landlord.

“One of things you have to think about if you look at changing locations is if the customers will follow,” Hess said. “We’re committed to Nevada City. And we’ll be where our customers want us to be.”

For the employees at the Nevada City Bank of America branch, Haggerty said they will be offered available positions at nearby bank locations, or are eligible for severance should no positions be available.

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, e-mail or call (530) 477-4236.

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