Board to B of A: Keep it open

  The Plumas County Board of Supervisors is sending a letter to Bank of America asking that the institution reconsider its decision to completely close its Portola branch.

  Board Chairman Terry Swofford said he continues to receive comments from concerned residents who have relied on the bank for years.

  “There’s a lot of concern from senior citizens,” Swofford said during the board’s April 2 meeting, and he added that seniors were the least apt to turn to online banking.

  Bank of America’s stated reason for closure is the loss of traffic at the branch, with more people taking care of their transactions online.

  However, business customers who need to make daily deposits or require change for their transactions need more than an online presence. The closest Bank of America branches are in Quincy, Reno and Truckee.

  Plumas Bank provides a local option to handle commercial as well as private accounts. When asked for comment following the meeting, Plumas Bank representatives said they were committed to helping the community.

  “We want everyone to know that we’re here for them,” said Rachelle Ramelli, the branch manager of Plumas Bank in Portola.

  Bank president Andrew Ryback said, “We know it may be an unsettling time for many Bank of America customers; however, Plumas Bank has served the Portola community for over three decades and we are here to help.”

  Some businesses and individuals have already made the switch. During the board meeting, Swofford said he heard that the bank had opened 100 new accounts.

  Plumas Bank representatives declined to be specific about the number of new customers they are now serving, noting that they were sensitive to the Bank of America employees who would be losing their jobs.

  “In towns where Bank of America has closed offices, it is only natural that other banks in those areas, including Plumas Bank, would experience an uptick in activity,” Ramelli said.

  But the supervisors’ concerns aren’t reserved solely for local residents.

  “Not only is this decision economically a hardship on customers affiliated with this branch, it is a huge inconvenience to the tourist population … which our county depends on for revenue,” read the supervisors’ letter to Bank of America.

  The supervisors requested that Bank of America provide a local ATM if it stands by its decision to close the branch.

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