ELKTON — Customers of Howard Bank who use the branch on Augustine Herman Highway will be getting a letter soon explaining that their local branch is closing in September.
Drew McKone, executive vice president and chief deposit officer of the banking company that took over NBRS Financial branches in Cecil County in 2014, said it was not an easy decision to make.
“The decision was very much driven by what we’re seeing from consumer demand,” McKone said Tuesday. “The consumer has been moving away from branch interaction.”
The hours of the branch in the Southfield Park Center will change June 28, also in response to consumer demand. Saturday hours will be discontinued and lobby hours will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
With the rising popularity of online banking, mobile deposits and ATMs, McKone said the most recent review of branch traffic indicated the physical location was no longer needed.
Howard Bank offers unlimited ATM transactions and refunds any fees charged in doing so, McKone added.
“Many ATMs don’t charge anyhow,” he said. “We make sure our customers are protected.”
The employees are also protected, he noted. All will be dispersed to other branches, including in Rising Sun and Newark, Del.
“There will be no job loss as a result of this,” he said.
The location opened in 2005 and was acquired by Howard Bank in 2014 during its acquisition of the former NBRS assets following its failure. As of June 2018, the branch had roughly $25 million in deposits, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
In late 2017, Howard Bank merged with 1st Mariner Bank to become the largest bank in the Greater Baltimore region. After doing so, however, it closed six locations of the combined banks’ 27 in 2018.
Howard Bank is not alone in closing physical branches in Cecil County, as PNC Bank has closed its Chesapeake City, Cecilton and Elkton-area locations in the last four years. It too cited a dwindling number of customers at its brick-and-mortar locations and changing preferences toward online banking for customers.