Clarks Grove’s bank to close

Published 9:45 am Monday, May 3, 2010

The State Bank of Clarks Grove branch in Clarks Grove will close on July 16, and the main banking office for that bank will be at the branch in Albert Lea. Customers of the bank were sent letters notifying them of the change.

The decision to close the main banking branch at 107 E. Main St. in Clarks Grove came from the chairman of the board, the president and vice president of the bank.

“It’s due to a significant drop in customer traffic in recent years,” President Susan Lock said. “We can no longer afford to keep that location open.”

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The bank will have to apply to the Minnesota Commissioner of Commerce and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to move the main banking office from the Clarks Grove branch to the branch at 2401 Bridge Ave. in Albert Lea.

There are two co-workers at the branch in Clarks Grove. The full-time co-worker will be transferred to the Albert Lea branch and the part-time co-worker will work on-call.

“We were committed to keeping it open as long as we could,” Vice President Julie Johnson said.

Johnson said their last survey of the town indicated that only 8 percent of the residents in Clarks Grove were customers of the bank. She also said with mobile and Internet banking there are less customers. When people commute to work they bank where they work, so some people who live in Clarks Grove and commute to Albert Lea won’t mind the change.

“As banking has changed over the years people started to bank where they work,” Johnson said.

The current customers of the bank will have to go to Albert Lea for their banking when the branch closes in July. Many businesses in Clarks Grove are customers, so it will be less convenient for them to bank and use safety deposit boxes.

“It’s going to be a pain,” customer Judy Anderson said. “It just won’t be as convenient.”

Anderson works at the hardware store in Clarks Grove and lives in the town. She’s been a customer of the bank for 34 years and plans to continue banking with them at their Albert Lea branch.

The branch in Albert Lea opened in 2003 because many customers of the bank lived in Albert Lea. The Clarks Grove branch opened on Sept. 1, 1903. It was the first and only bank in Clarks Grove and has been there for almost 107 years.