The closing of a bank branch can be significant for consumers who have difficulties traveling to the nearest branch or ATM or can’t (or won’t) bank online. If that describes you, what should you do?
Read the bank’s notices about the branch closing. At least 90 days before the proposed closing date, the institution must mail a notice to customers of the branch. And, at least 30 days before the closing, the institution must post a visible notice at the branch. (Note: If a bank is relocating a branch elsewhere in the same neighborhood, the rules differ somewhat but much of the time the bank must post a notice in the branch for at least 15 days.)
These materials will help you understand the bank’s plan for your accounts. For example, if the notice directs you to a nearby branch, think about whether its location and hours are convenient for you. If you have a safe deposit box at the branch, understand whether you need to remove the contents before the closing date or whether they will be transferred to another location.
Ask a customer service representative about other ways to access your account at the same bank. If the new location will be a problem for you, consider using online banking. Avoid trips to the bank by using direct deposit for your salary and other payments.
Also explore whether the bank allows you to deposit a check remotely over a smartphone (see Using Technology to Remain Financially Fit). If the bank doesn’t have an ATM convenient to where you live or work, find out if it will waive fees for using other ATMs.