Bank of America to close Portola branch

Bank of America is permanently closing its Portola branch on June 28, the bank announced Friday. Six employees will be laid off and customers will be asked to take their banking needs to the nearest center in Reno or Quincy. Photo by Carolyn Carter
Carolyn Carter

  Last week the six employees at the Bank of America in Portola were informed that the corporate office would be permanently closing the Portola branch at 2 p.m. on June 28.

  Colleen Haggerty, a spokesperson for Bank of America, said the decision to close the local banking center located on West Sierra Street was due to declining business.

  “The decision to close the banking center was not an easy one,” said Haggerty. “It was driven primarily by a decline in transactions, as customers increasingly rely on other channels such as mobile and online banking.”

  According to a Portola branch employee who asked not to be named, the bank serves all of Plumas County. Its customer base stretches as far as Hallelujah Junction and Doyle.

  Other than Quincy, the nearest Bank of America branch is located in Truckee or Reno.

  The employee said people are not happy that they will have to commute more than 30 miles to do their banking.

  The bank has been a part of the Portola community since the 1960s when it was located in Old Town Portola in what is now The Pizza Factory.

  The Portola branch employee said it was uncertain whether the employees getting laid off would be able to transfer to another bank. She said she wasn’t sure if the workers would even want to move.

  “We are all from here; we all live here. This is our community,” she said. “It is hard. With something as personal as money, we’ve really built relationships with people here.”

  The employee said Bank of America, based in Charlotte, N.C., determined the closure was unavoidable. The company added up how much money the branch was earning every month and concluded that there was not enough business to justify keeping the branch open.

  The Portola branch representative also said the employees at the bank had no idea this was going to happen.

  “They just sat us down and told us,” she said. “It’s just really hard. This is a good job.”

  The company said there would not be Bank of America ATMs or smaller offices available in the area, either. The Portola branch representative said corporate thought there was not enough foot traffic to make it worthwhile, and most transactions are done electronically.

  Haggerty said customers are being notified “more than 90 (days) in advance to give them ample time to become familiar with their banking options.”

  She said customers with additional questions could go to the banking center and talk to a bank employee.

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