Lemoore Bank of America Financial Center closing by July 31, 2018 says company

By The Leader Staff
Lemoore's Bank of America Financial Center will be closing on July 31, 2018, according to a letter received by Lemoore customers.
Lemoore's Bank of America Financial Center will be closing on July 31, 2018, according to a letter received by Lemoore customers.

Patrons of Lemoore’s Bank of America were sent letters this week informing them that as of Tuesday, July 31, 2018, their Bank of America Financial Center will be closing. The letter states that the financial center where customers opened their accounts will be closing, but all customer accounts will remain, and longtime patrons can continue to bank with Bank of America.

Also, the letter stated that Lemoore customers could continue banking at the Hanford branch, located at 180 North Redington. It will continue providing services as will thousands of other locations across the country, stated Bank of America.

The news seemed to catch most people by surprise, including city officials and the Lemoore Chamber of Commerce, who said they weren't given any advance notice of the impending closure. The news was indeed unexpected. The Leader contacted Bank of America's corporate offices, but a spokesman, Larry Rita, indicated he wasn't sure and would return our phone call.

“As always,” states the notice, “You can check your accounts, pay bills and transfer money 24/7 using a computer, smartphone or tablet.”

The Lemoore branch of Bank of America has been a mainstay in the community for decades, and its closing comes as somewhat of a surprise to many who received the letter.

The letter did not state the exact reasons for closure, but it’s no secret that according to the Wall Street Journal, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank, the nation’s second-largest lender, has shuttered nearly 1,700 branches in the last couple of years as it seeks to rekindle depressed profits and focus in major metropolitan areas. In other words, the bank makes more money in large cities than it does in rural communities.

The Journal also reported that many branches have also lost much of their reason to exist because routine transactions such as depositing checks and transferring money are increasingly completed on computers or phones.

Overall though, The Wall Street Journal cites figures that major banks have cut hundreds of U.S. branches since the beginning of 2009, which includes closures in counties where the bank maintains a presence. Of the counties Bank of America has left from mid-2009 through the middle of 2016, more than 95% were outside metro areas with 1 million or more people, the Journal analysis shows.

Despite the cutbacks, The Journal says that Bank of America has continued to add consumer deposits—$55 billion last year. While revenue has been falling in recent years, profits have hit their highest point since 2006. And earnings at the bank’s consumer unit, which includes its branches, increased 8% last year.

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