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Editorial: A bank for Wilson

Even amid 21st century technology and the internet of things, most people expect communities to include certain staples. High among them is a bank, and the Village of Wilson hasn’t had one since 2014.

Of course, online banking is available but there is still something to recommend face-to-face interactions. Moreover, neighborhood banks contribute to the neighborhood by supporting worthy causes, oftentimes providing the foundation for programs focused on health, education and welfare.

So, it is understandable that when the Village of Wilson lost its only bank branch more than five years ago, residents, businesses and elected officials wondered where to turn.

The village is fortunate. The Bank of Akron has opened a branch, and small business owners and residents couldn’t be more pleased. The branch will be led by a local businesswoman, Colleen Bowman, who is co-owner of a grocery store there with her husband and who has a history in banking.

Branch closings are occurring nationwide. S&P Global Market Intelligence proves the case, reporting a record high 1,947 net bank branch closings across the country last year. First Niagara closed its branch at 264 Young St. in March 2014, citing a need to reduce duplication within its network of branches. Wilson residents and business owners adjusted, even though it meant long treks to other locations – Ransomville, Newfane or Lockport. But it wasn’t convenient.

Bank of Akron President Anthony Delmonte Jr. credited Mayor Arthur Lawson and Town Supervisor Doyle Phillips for maintaining the momentum. As Phillips said recently, sounding frustrated but spot on accurate at the four years spent on trying to lure another bank: “As far as I’m concerned, it’s a must for a community to have a bank.”

It’s certainly an advantage. Even with internet banking, a local institution is valuable and, now, Wilson has one.

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