Bank to close in September

MILL HALL – First National Bank is permanently closing its Mill Hall bank building at 349 Main St. after business is concluded on Sept. 20.

According to a letter sent to Mill Hall Borough, the decision was made “based on an ongoing evaluation that helps us maintain an effective and efficient service network.”

The letter does not say that another bank will be taking over the building, leaving borough council to believe it will be an empty structure.

The bank had provided a special service to the borough, collecting sewer-bill payments from customers. Borough council has discussed the closing and how to handle these payments after Sept. 20 but has not yet made a decision.

Regular banking customers will be able to use other First National Bank sites, including the ATM at 248 Hogan Boulevard and the Lock Haven office at 40 Bellefonte Ave., the letter states.

The Lock Haven office has regular hours, including Wednesday afternoons and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

Safety-deposit box customers at Mill Hall must remove the contents from their boxes and are asked to do so before Aug. 30. Boxes not emptied by 4 p.m. on Aug. 30 will be drilled, the contents inventoried and recorded on the customer’s behalf, and transferred to the Lock Haven office. Customers will then have access to the contents on Sept. 9.

Local customers who transfer their box to another First National Bank location will have one year’s free box rental “to thank you for your patience during this transition,” the letter states.

Tracy Kuntz is branch manager at the Mill Hall bank. Questions are being referred to John R. Franks Jr., regional banking executive, who signed the letter to customers announcing the bank’s closing.

The bank intends to offer its Mill Hall employees new positions as they become available “through attrition and other growth opportunities,” stated Kathy Hammons, manager of communications and public relations for the bank.

“It is too premature for us to comment on employee impact,” she said.

First National Bank owns the building, and according to Hammons, no decision has been made yet about what to do with it.

She did not give a specific reason for the bank’s closing but stated, “We consider variables including customer and market demographics, future growth opportunities, branch accessibility, operating costs, branch activity level, facility quality and other factors. We also consider changes in customer preferences, including the increased use of our various electronic banking channels.”