Credit union closes branch that was robbed

04/04/2013 3:59 PM

04/04/2013 3:59 PM

Credit Union of America said Thursday it is permanently closing its branch at 1920 S. Seneca, the branch that was robbed Wednesday and near which a suspect was shot by a sheriff’s deputy.

Bob Thurman, chief executive of the $522 million-asset credit union, said the office was already providing limited services, and its closure is not directly related to the robbery. The closure was effective immediately, although the branch’s drive-through ATM will remain open for the foreseeable future, Thurman said.

“Basically it (the robbery) was a catalyst to accelerate our decision on where we went with this location,” Thurman said. But “the safety of our employees and members is paramount.”

On Wednesday, a Sedgwick County sheriff’s deputy who was nearby when the robbery occurred shot a fleeing man who was suspected of robbing the branch. Authorities said Thursday that as the deputy fired, the suspect shot himself in the head, and that the suspect apparently died of the self-inflicted gunshot.

Thurman said operations at the branch were already limited to drive-through teller service. He said demand and traffic at the Seneca branch were low.

A combination of that slowing activity and the added expense of enhancing security at the Seneca branch led to its permanent closure.

CUA had been operating the branch for a little more than a year. It picked it up from its acquisition of First Choice Credit Union last year.

Thurman said he thought the Seneca branch had been robbed one other time, when it was operating under First Choice.

CUA had earlier moved some of the Seneca branch operations to its branch at 711 W. Douglas.

The credit union will direct its members who had been using the Seneca branch to its West Douglas facility. Seneca branch tellers also will be transferred to West Douglas or another area CUA office, Thurman said.

Wichita-based CUA operates 11 branches in the area. It also operates a branch in Great Bend.

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