Peoples Bank to close Belpre branch

The Peoples Bank branch at 510 Washington Blvd. in Belpre is scheduled to close at the end of business on March 31. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

BELPRE — Peoples Bank is planning to close its small branch office in east Belpre at the end of March.

The branch office scheduled for closure is located at 510 Washington Blvd., across from Belpre Furniture.

In a letter sent out to customers, Staci B. Matheney, SVP Retail Sales & Service for Peoples Bank, said the closure of the branch was a part of improving their operations.

”In an effort to continuously improve our business operations, at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 31, 2017, we will permanently close the Peoples Bank Belpre East office located at 510 Washington Blvd., Belpre, Ohio 45714,” she wrote. ”Providing you with convenient access to your accounts is important to us.

”Please know that you can choose to bank at any Peoples Bank location throughout Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky, including…Belpre Main Office, 1902 Washington Blvd., Belpre, Ohio 45714.”

Officials confirmed the main branch in Belpre, located next to the Save-A-Lot grocery store, will remain open. Peoples Bank is hiring another customer service representative to help with the workload.

In a telephone interview, Matheney said Peoples also was closing smaller branches at the Kroger store in Marietta and in the Plains, Ohio, between Athens and Nelsonville, due to leases being up.

All of the closures were due to the locations being close to other branches, she said. The locations in Belpre and Marietta were within a couple miles of another branch. Peoples had locations in Athens and Nelsonville which negated the need for the one in The Plains, she added.

The closings were done to improve operational efficiency and reduce expenses, Matheney said.

The small branch in Belpre had a low transaction rate with many people choosing to do business at the main branch, she said.

The Belpre East office had four associates employed there.

Two of the associates will be taking open positions at other offices while the bank will work with the other two in finding a spot for them if they wish to continue with Peoples Bank, Matheney said.

Matheney reminded people that technology has opened a wide variety of options in their banking needs through online services and more.

”For even greater convenience, we offer a wide array of online and mobile banking services, including Peoples Mobile Deposit, which allows you to deposit checks from anywhere with your mobile phone,” she wrote. ”You also have access to more than 24,000 surcharge-free ATMs through the nationwide MoneyPass ATM network.”

”The goal is to make it as convenient as possible for our customers,” she added.

Matheney wrote that people can comment on the closing by contacting the Banking Supervisor, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland at P.O. Box 6387, Cleveland, Ohio 44101. Comments should be received by March 31.

”The closing of this branch office is not an application process; therefore the Federal Reserve Bank does not approve and/or deny the banks’ authority to close a branch office,” she wrote. ”Correspondence to the Federal Reserve Bank should be filed as commentary only, without the expectation of a response or adverse action.”