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FLEET BANK WILL CLOSE TWO DOWNTOWN BRANCHES

Fleet Bank is closing two of its downtown Buffalo branches but says it will beef up its banking presence in the city by enhancing its other branches.

Branches in the Main Place Mall and at Genesee Street near Michigan Avenue will be closed June 16, the bank said.

The bank said the closures are part of an effort to improve its retail banking service in the city.

"We studied the banking patterns within each branch as well as the banking habits of the local communities and decided to redeploy resources to better serve our customer base as a whole," said Mary Quinn, a Fleet spokeswoman.

The bank has committed its downtown resources to a new branch at Main and Court streets, a former Manufacturers Hanover branch, she said. It recently signed a long-term lease at that branch.

The bank also will install automated teller machines in its branches at West Utica Street and the Central Park Plaza.

"It's a redeployment of capital and provides what we believe is better service throughout the whole city," she said.

The branches that are being closed are not far from other branches. The Main Place Mall branch is less than a block from Main and Court Street, while the Genesee and Michigan branch is four blocks from the bank's headquarters branch at Fountain Plaza.

The two branches also were the bank's smallest in Buffalo. Customers have been notified of the closings and their accounts will be transferred automatically to the Fountain Plaza and Main and Court branches, Ms. Quinn said.

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