Community Bank closes branch in Hy-Vee

Published 7:16 am Tuesday, December 22, 2009

By JASON SCHOONOVER

jason.schoonover@austindailyherald.com

As part of a consolidation effort, Community Bank closed its three branches in southern Minnesota Hy-Vee stores on Friday.

Community Bank closed its Hy-Vee locations in Austin, Albert Lea and Mankato. Gary Lindgren, president and CEO of Community Bank, described the closings as consolidation to help the company best meet the needs of its customers.

Customers were given 90 days of notice. They could use that time to choose to transfer their account to another Community Bank location, or they could close their account and transfer it to another bank, Lindgren said.

These closings leave the two Austin locations as the only Community Bank offices in Minnesota. The Austin offices are located at 900 18th Ave. N.W. and 805 Main St.

“We will fully take care of customers through our two primary bricks and mortar locations in Austin,” he said.

While some customers transferred their account to the other branches, some customers from Mankato and Albert Lea chose to transfer to a different bank to keep their banking closer to their home.

About 11 employees were let go when the banks closed, and Lindgren said they were given severance packages. One employee took a job at the Community bank on Main Street.

Community Bank customers in Austin lose some convenience with the closing of the Hy-Vee branch. Not only could customers do their banking when grocery shopping, the Hy-Vee branches were open different hours than the other Community Bank locations.

The Hy-Vee banks were open late 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The Main Street and 18th Avenue locations are open 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday Through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, and the banks are closed on Sunday.

While the hours and location was more convenient for some customers, Lindgren said it caused some problems for lenders since there was little privacy in the grocery store atmosphere.

In Austin Hy-Vee, Community Bank was located on the northeast side of the store near the floral department. Todd Hepler, store director, said the space will remain vacant for the time being. However, plans are in the works to renovate the Austin Hy-Vee in the near future. That space will be utilized during the remodeling project, he said.