Citizens Bank on Main St to close

The Castleton branch of Citizens Bank will be closing on April 14, according to a letter that the bank sent to all of its customers on Jan. 6

Its closure is a striking event for the entire community because most citizens of Castleton, and numerous Castleton University students bank there.

Resident Nicholas Colombo was saddened about the closing, but said he’ll stay with Citizens Bank.

“My job keeps me on the road constantly, and their other branches are not too out of the way. I go back and forth between three places, and all three of them have branches near them,” Colombo said.

The bank, established in 1994, has been a staple in the Castleton community. Students and residents alike will miss the convenience, along with the kindness its employees are famous for.

“Everybody that works there is so friendly and willing to help,” said Toné Sawyer, a senior at Castleton University.

Sawyer is not sure whether he will transfer his funds to another bank or not.

The Castleton bank is not the only one in the area to face such a destiny; the Poultney Citizens branch is due to close on the exact same date, and both will merge with the Rutland branch.

The letter sent by Citizens Bank referred to the opportunity of “seeing some familiar faces” at the Rutland branch, although it is not clear how many employees will retain their positions.

Employees at the Castleton branch said they were not allowed to share any information about the forthcoming closure. However Lauren DiGeronimo, responsible for the Media Relations, released a statement on Jan. 20.

“After a recent review, (Citizens Bank) made the business decision to consolidate the Poultney and Castleton branches. Given the increasing popularity of mobile and online banking, we have significantly expanded these services and are continuing to invest in this area as we also make improvements to our ATM network and in-branch services. In addition, we continue to serve customers at other local branches including Rutland and West Pawlet,” the statement read.

Although the Castleton branch tried to communicate with its customers well in advance, some were still caught by surprise by the news, like Castleton student Alexandra Nelson, who is currently spending a semester in Spain.

“Next year is going to be rough,” said Nelson, who chose to bank with Citizens because of how close it is to the school. “I do use online banking, but I will have to think about whether it’s worth switching or not, depending on where the next closest branch is.”

But some loyal customers, like French sophomore Camille Pizano, have no intention of leaving.

“I use online banking, and since there is still a branch in Rutland, I will definitely not transfer my funds,” said Pizano, who was also caught by surprise by the news of the imminent closing.

Although online and mobile banking options seem to have played a paramount role in the closing of the branch, some said they don’t love that option.

“The Citizens Bank online banking is difficult for me to use. I only use it to check my funds. I literally don’t know what else it is offered for,” said Sawyer when asked about the utility of the service.

Keeping the small branch open might have become economically inconvenient for Citizens Bank, one of America’s oldest financial institutions, and online banking seems to be a valuable replacement. But can a computer replace a smile? Can a computer comfort you, offer you human warmth, wish you a good day? Sawyer doesn’t think so.

“I’ll miss seeing Erica,” he said. “She always smiles, greets me by name and actually remembers some things I am doing in my life.”

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