By Waringa Kamau
SunTrust Bank will close its downtown Lexington branch in early May, according to Corporate Spokesman Hugh Suhr. The closing will leave a prominent building on the corner of two major streets up for sale.
Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sammy Moore, who also has a personal account with the bank, said that he would like to see a new bank fill the space.
“I’ve always walked to the bank, so this is a great inconvenience,” he said.
Moore said even though this will be a great loss for downtown, people should focus on the opportunity it creates.
“It will be interesting to see who will purchase the building and what will replace the bank,” he said. “I consider that a premier location for any business. When you’re on the corner of Route 11 and Route 60, that offers all kinds of opportunities.”
Responding to an email inquiry, Suhr said SunTrust is committed to working with the four employees of the closing branch.
“They may post for other positions at SunTrust,” he said. “Those who are unable to find suitable positions will be offered competitive severance and outplacement services.”
The manager of the SunTrust was not available to comment, and employees were not authorized to speak about the closing.
Suhr said the opening and closing of branches has become a natural part of ensuring that SunTrust is able to maximize its market opportunities and meet the needs of its clients in an efficient and effective manner.
“SunTrust, like all banking companies, must constantly refine its branch network to meet the changing needs and transaction patterns of clients, as well as taking into account their increasing usage of newer delivery channels such as internet banking and mobile banking,” he said.
Suhr said the Hunter Hill branch on Route 11 will remain open.
The downtown bank mailed out letters last week notifying its customers of the May 2 closing. Those who have banked at the downtown branch will be able to access their accounts at the Hunter Hill branch.
Suhr said the affected customers will also keep access to their accounts through the bank’s other branches, ATMs, telephone banking, and online and mobile banking.
The branch on Hunter Hill has no safe deposit boxes. Suhr said that clients who now have safe deposit boxes with the city branch would be offered “one year’s free rental on a safe deposit box of similar size at any other SunTrust branch, subject to availability.”