Two local office branches of the Community Bank will be consolidated into others some distance away, which its chairman and CEO attributed to the changing banking landscape.
John Montgomery said on Thursday the decision to consolidate the Bellaire branch into the Moundsville branch and the Wellsburg branch into the Warwood branch was part of a streamlining process, as part of an initiative to increase services Virtual banking faces reduced demand for brick-and-mortar locations.
The consolidation, which includes a total of six locations, is expected to be completed by the end of June.
“The economic situation during the pandemic has changed consumer behavior,” Montgomery said. “Moving away from bricks and mortar, consumers want better mobile and digital access to their banking services.
“When we talk about agility, investments and these tools would enable someone to do whatever they want to do – they can come to a branch, if they want, or use mobile and digital,” he added. . “We want to invest in these technologies, so we have good technical solutions, if that’s what someone wants to do.”
Montgomery said all six branches, including the Bellaire and Wellsburg locations, were underperforming, flagging them for consolidation.
“We have to be efficient to do that, and unfortunately those branches just weren’t used the way they were in the past,” he said. “That’s the sad reality we’re trying to pivot to.”
Montgomery said he was aware of concerns that eliminating some local branches would inconvenience customers who would need to cross the Ohio River or walk miles down W.Va. 2 for their banking needs, but hoped that there would be a small impact.
“We hope that the number of customers affected will be minimal, we hope that with digital products they will be able to use it rather than having to go to a branch, if they wish,” he said. declared.
Montgomery said the consolidation process would likely affect about 20 jobs. However, he said the company was looking to place those employees in new positions to minimize the effect on staff.
“We’re looking at how we can keep positions open, how we can make room for anyone who might be affected,” he said. “We will work very hard to ensure that anyone affected is encouraged to take their first shot at a vacancy, and we want to retain as many people as possible within our organization. These are very difficult times, we are committed to the market, we are going to be opportunistic in the market, but we have to adapt to the changing environment, and that is what we are doing.