I read today that the bank branch that I have been using for almost 20 years, is closing this Spring.
That, in and of itself is not a crisis in my life as most of our banking is done online. I suppose that is at least partially responsible for the closure.
My grief is further mitigated by the fact that my days of daily visits and getting to know the employees at the branch are in the rearview mirror.
When we purchased our businesses in 1999, the mortgages, trust accounts, operating accounts, and our personal accounts were all opened with Regions and since we were only a block away, I often walked there to transact business. As Regions got bigger and bigger, the local officers were no longer able to make the simplest of decisions without calling to the home office, slowing down the process and often not being able to serve their local customers. It got so bad that I once asked the branch president, who was a pretty close buddy if he had to call up to Charlotte to see if it was OK to go to the bathroom? He did not deny it and retired not too long after that. Even with all the corporate BS, we stayed and still are customers. But it was never the same.
I do feel bad for the many elderly patrons, who live on the North side of town who will now need to drive an extra three (congested) miles to the much smaller, Southside branch, which is located at the busiest and most dangerous intersection in our fair city.
What makes me respond however is the reasoning for the closure. I don’t know, nor have I ever met Mr. Campbell, the spokesman for Regions Bank and he may be a nice guy. Anyone, however who reads his statement and takes it at face value is, in my opinion, a special kind of gullible.
Here is the link to the article in today’s Aiken Standard.
Here is the explanation as to why:
“In recent years, Regions has taken a very deliberate approach to evolving how we serve our customers, looking at both new models for business and our branch locations,” Campbell said. “Our focus has been on enhancing the total customer experience across all our delivery channels and reviewing locations and policies so we can use our resources as efficiently as possible. “A careful review of our branch locations around Aiken,” he continued, “identified opportunities to consolidate based on new technology, volume, the proximity of other branches, profitability and other factors. We will make every effort to identify other jobs in the company for affected associate where possible.
A more practical explanation may have been…”We are closing the historic, three-story main branch, formerly home to Palmetto Savings and Loan as it is a money drain and hurting our regional profitability. As the property is located adjacent the revitalized, upscale “Alley Business Zone,” we expect a developer to make a handsome offer on the property, probably before you read this announcement.
I could never be a corporate information officer. Well, I could, but would probably be fired in a week or two for being honest.
Thanks for letting me vent.
The world continues spinning and a big announcement is coming soon. (No, I’m not going to work for Regions).