[UPDATE 5:50 P.M.] Tri County Bank Branch to Close in Garberville
Garberville business owner, Janice Branscomb says that online banking doesn’t work for her as she has to make deposits and it is too far to drive to Eureka. “I’ll have to change banks,” she said. Branscomb has already been dealing with switching account numbers since Tri Counties Bank took over for NVB last fall. “It’s very complex all of the connections that go between my checking account and the vendors,” she said. “I’ll be playing phone tag or email tag–it can go on for weeks. Luckily, I had’t bought new checks yet,” she added.
Although the Garberville branch of Tri Counties Bank had a reputation for being busy, Murphy said that after analysis, the bank decided to close it. “We look at demand, is the current competition serving [the area] well, the cost of maintaining a facility, and projections of future performance,” he explained.
According to the FDIC, as of June 30 this last year, North Valley Bank which was taken over by Tri Counties, had a similar market share to its competitor Umqua Bank. And it had been gaining on its competitor. In 2010, for instance, NVB only had 36.68% of the market but in 2014 it had 48.12%. And, the amount of deposits had risen during that time period.
Murphy said that current employees of Tri Counties Garberville branch would be assisted in finding other positions in other branches. “We make every effort to encourage employees to find other jobs within our company,” he said.
If the employees weren’t able to find positions, he said, then they would be given severance packages. Those who had been working previously for NVB, he said, would be given severance that included the years of past service to the other bank. “They’re very generous,” he said of the packages.
As to the bank’s large building which is prominently situated on the main street in Garberville, Murphy said he didn’t know about the details of the lease but “discussions with the owners of the property are still underway.”
Business owner Janice Branscomb lamented the loss of a tradition. “I’ve been with the bank in that spot since the 60’s. I’m not happy but what are you going to do?”
UPDATE 5:50 p.m.: Shon Wellborn, president and CEO of the Community Credit Union of Southern Humboldt, explained that CCUSH won’t be taking on any additional business accounts for awhile. “We don’t have the staff to support any more business accounts, ” she said. “Anyone who wants to open a business account, we’re putting them on a waiting list.”
Because word of Tri-Counties impending closure broke today, Wellborn said she’s already had business owners approaching her about transferring to CCUSH. “Before I left the office, I had three accounts approach me.” But, she said, she had to tell the individuals that they would have to go onto a waiting list. “One of the people was my husband…he’s a little cranky with me now,” she said.
Question worth pondering: Does our “peculiar institution”–the cannabis industry—have anything to do with this closure? In light of the closure, this story by Terri Klemetson at KMUD last year is worth listening to again.