As you know by now, Key Bank announced last week that they would be closing their branch in Philmont effective April 29, 2016. This closure is likely related to the trend of large financial institutions moving away from brick and mortar spaces, focusing instead on electronic, mobile banking. It’s a sign of the times. It’s cheaper to run a website than it is a retail space. It’s more convenient for many to do their banking from their computers and smart phones than it is to go to a bank to process transactions. The problem is, for communities like ours, online banking isn’t necessarily the best option for large segments of the population. On top of that, many in this same demographic – like senior citizens – often do not drive, leaving them with few options to do their banking.
I recognize the affect this closure will have on Philmont and surrounding residents, and I – like those in Philmont village government – am determined to do my part to help mitigate this situation to the extent that government can. That said, I have already begun to petition and fight to bring a county shuttle bus service to Philmont. This system would provide residents with a means of transportation to-and-from Greenport to conduct banking and other business on a weekly basis. I am committed to making this happen for Philmont, and will fight to make it a reality.
Let me also say this. Key Bank’s abrupt closure of their branch in Philmont speaks to the value and benefits of small businesses. We have already seen at least one small local bank show interest in helping the residents of Philmont in Key Bank’s absence. Small, locally run businesses care about the communities they operate in. Yes profit is important, indeed vital, to them as well – but so is the general wellbeing of the community. So I would encourage all residents, now more than ever, to patronize and support our local small businesses. When possible, purchase your goods right here in Philmont and the greater Claverack area. Spending your money locally – to the extent possible – supports the local economy and helps to provide those precious local jobs.
Let’s all do our part.
I will keep you updated on the progress of bringing the bus route to Philmont.