The McKinleyville branch of Bank of America – a fixture at the McKinleyville Shopping Center for nearly half a century – will close down on Aug. 16.
Bank of America recently sent letters to its customers informing them that the McKinleyville branch, as well as the one on Fourth Street in Eureka, will be shuttered due to a decline in transactions.
“The decision to close banking centers is not an easy one, and is driven primarily by a decline in transactions, as customers increasingly rely on other channels such as mobile and online banking,” stated Colleen Haggerty of Bank of America Media Relations in an email to the McKinleyville Press.
“In this case, we expect minimal impact given the proximity of three other full service banking centers in Eureka, Arcata and Fortuna,” Haggerty wrote. “We notified customers by letter 90 days in advance to give them ample time to become familiar with their banking options.”
For McKinleyville customers who want to visit a Bank of America branch, the closest option will be the BofA branch on the Arcata Plaza. For some customers, like McKinleyville resident Mary McCarthy, this will be too much of an inconvenience.
“We’re going to leave the bank,” said McCarthy, who has had an account with BofA since 1969. The McKinleyville branch, at the corner of Central Avenue and Hiller Road, opened in 1964.
McCarthy said she does some of her banking online, but wants to still have the option of going to the bank and talking to real people. Driving to Arcata and dealing with the problems on the Plaza is too much of a hassle, she said.
McCarthy said she was surprised by her bank’s decision to close the McKinleyville branch.
“I think McKinleyville is on the way up. It’s going to grow,” McCarthy said.
McKinleyville resident Matthew Gatlin said he was also surprised by the closure. Gatlin said he and his wife Geraldine have grown up with the bank, having financed their McKinleyville home through BofA back in 1965. “We were there when they first started,” he said.
Gatlin said he plans to move his money to a bank with a local branch,
“We want to stay local. By local I mean McKinleyville,” Gatlin said.
Gatlin said he visited the McKinleyville branch last week after receiving the letter. The mood among the employees was somber.
It’s unclear how many employees will lose their jobs when the branches are closed.
When asked about this, Haggerty responded “We do not disclose the number of employees at our banking centers. When a banking center closes, we will work to help find them other roles within the company whenever possible.”
McKinleyville has two other banks and a credit union. North Valley Bank is located 1640 Central Avenue. Umpqua Bank is located at 2095 Central Avenue. Coast Central Credit Union has two locations in McKinleyville – one at 1968 Central Avenue and another inside the Ray’s Food Place at 1580 Central Avenue.