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Advocacy group concerned about Bank of America branch closing

An advocacy group is raising concerns over Bank of America’s plan to shut a branch in South Buffalo next month.

Bank of America in August said it would close a branch at 2221 Seneca St., near Cazenovia Park, on Nov. 15.

The Buffalo Niagara Community Reinvestment Coalition, in a letter to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, laid out its concerns about how the closing will affect banking services for

Kaisertown and Seneca-Babcock residents. The federal regulator invites public comments when banks for which it has oversight prepare to close branches, before making a decision.

The group said the Seneca Street branch is in a “moderate income community,” and that the closing will result in “increased travel times and hardship” for residents to get to the next closest Bank of America branch.

“In light of the decision to close the Seneca Street branch, Bank of America must work with the community to identify and implement specific strategies to ensure that customers and residents still have access to banking services in the neighborhood,” said Thomas Keily, the coalition’s chairman, in a statement.

The coalition asked the bank and the OCC to host a community meeting to discuss the group’s concerns.

The bank is closing branches in areas where there was overlap, “and we are reconfiguring locations to offer additional specialists and other financial services for customers to better serve Buffalo,” said LaToya Evans, a Bank of America spokeswoman.

Bank of America’s 2221 Seneca St. location is being combined with another branch about one mile away, at 1989 South Park Ave., with the same hours of operation and also drive-up service, Evans said.

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