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Northwest Bank To Close Branches In Olean, Warren County

Northwest Bank will be closing two regional branches in the spring.

The Olean branch will permanently close on April 11 and the Sheffield branch in Warren County will close on April 13, according to Communications Manager Melanie Clabaugh.

Those closures are related to trends in banking.

Increases in online banking have decreased the foot traffic through bank offices.

“Because our customers are choosing to use more convenient ways to interact with our bank, retail network traffic and transaction volumes continue to drop,” Clabaugh said. “This movement led us to evaluate our retail network.”

“Over the past ten years, significant enhancements in technology have dramatically changed customer preferences, behavior and expectations,” she said. “These shifts span not just our own financial services industry, but almost every other facet of our lives as we all seek the ability to research, purchase, connect and transact with the tap of a button.”

The pandemic has accelerated the pace of bank branch closures.

“In 2020, our desire for convenience through technology became a need when the outbreak of COVID-19 forced the closure of bank retail branches around the world, including our own. During this time, customer reliance on digital channels like online and mobile banking and our network of ATMs increased — which also increased the level of comfort our customers have in using and expecting more from these channels,” Clabaugh said. “To keep up with this ever-evolving trend and to provide our customers with greater access, convenience, control and flexibility, Northwest invested heavily in alternative channels like online and mobile banking.”

“In 2021, we released enhancements to our digital experience, including improvements in account opening, person-to-person digital payments, budgeting tools, account alerts and card controls,” she said.

Northwest’s online services, ATM locations, telephone banking and other branches remain available to the customers who are losing their local branch.

Employees at the two branches will have opportunities to move to other positions and those who do not stay with the bank will receive some compensation.

“We are making every effort to reassign our employees within our retail network and corporate departments, and will continue to work closely with management to identify open positions for placement,” she said. “Employees who are not retained will be offered a severance package for their years of dedicated service.”

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