February 28, 2013

Bank of America will close Newton branch in June

Bank of America confirmed Thursday that its lone branch in Newton is slated to be closed.

Bank of America confirmed Thursday that its lone branch in Newton is slated to be closed.

A bank spokeswoman said in an e-mail to The Eagle that its branch at 1225 N. Main will close June 7. The bank notified customers of the closing in a Feb. 22 letter, she said in the e-mail.

The closing will bring the bank’s number of Kansas branches to 53, down from a high of 66 in 2002, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

It also shrinks the bank’s footprint in the Wichita area to 13 offices, down from a 2002 high of 19, according to the FDIC.

Ron Lang, president of Midland National Bank, one of two Newton-based banks, said the exit of Bank of America from Newton is helping Midland National by bringing in new deposits.

“We had (former Bank of America) customers come in on Monday in the snowstorm,” he said. “We have had a lot of inquiries, as I’m sure other banks in town have.”

Dwight Ray, president of the Newton banking center for Chanute-based Community National Bank & Trust, described Bank of America as a “large community supporter, and any time you lose a large community supporter, that’s a loss for the town.” He added that Community National and other banks in Newton will be able to “fill the void.”

According to an FDIC market share report from June, Bank of America ranked third in Newton deposits – with 11 percent market share and nearly $40 million in deposits – behind Midland at No. 2 and First Bank of Newton at No. 1.

The report said total deposits in Newton were $352 million, shared among six banks.

Diane Wagner, Bank of America spokeswoman, said in the e-mail that the bank does not disclose how many people it employs at its bank branches and that affected employees are provided various forms of assistance, including help to find employment at other bank locations.

The $1.4 trillion, Charlotte, N.C.-based bank had earlier announced plans to eliminate as many as 750 branches over several years as it looks to trim costs.

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