The Buffalo Niagara region has a quite a few former bank branches on the market, not to mention offices suitable for the present-day version of a branch.
So why is Bank on Buffalo building a $2 million brand-new branch in Niagara Falls?
To president Martin Griffith, it's about creating exactly the kind of branch the bank wants, in a smaller package.
"We really wanted to have a ground-up construction where we could dictate delivering all the recent bells and whistles that are involved with becoming a branch of the future," Griffith said. That includes tech features including interactive ATMs, an internet kiosk, and drive-thru service.
The bank, which is expected to open in the fourth quarter, is at 72nd Street and Niagara Falls Boulevard.
Bank on Buffalo has four branches in the region. Once the Niagara Falls branch is ready, a temporary location in the Town of Wheatfield will close.
The Wheatfield branch has collected deposits of nearly $50 million since opening last August, surpassing bank officials' expectations. Griffith expects that figure to grow to at least $100 million in deposits at the Niagara Falls permanent location. Its Orchard Park branch has over $125 million in deposits, and its Amherst branch has over $150 million in deposits, he said.
The Wheatfield branch is about a three-mile drive from the new project in Niagara Falls. Griffith said he expects the bank will retain the business from the Wheatfield site; he noted that the branch manager, Annette Tomlin, used to manage the KeyBank branch just across Niagara Falls Boulevard.
The new bank branch will be part of a plaza being developed by Consumers Beverages president Neil Kavanaugh. There is already a Consumers Beverages store, a nail salon and a barber shop on neighboring property. New facilities for those businesses will be built farther back from Niagara Falls Boulevard, after which the current building closer to the street will be demolished.
Bank on Buffalo in February said it was putting on hold plans for a fifth branch, in Amherst, at 827 Hopkins Road. Griffith said the bank has reached an agreement with the property's owner to extend the bank's control of that site until next April 1.
"We anticipate refiling for an application to approve that site as a branch sometime between now and then."