Brocton and Portland leaders discuss possible options for bank space

BROCTON – Aside from decision makers for their township, the councilmen of Portland are advocates, and members of the Brocton/Portland business community want town and village voices to be heard about the recent announcement of Community Bank leaving Brocton.

During their council meeting last Wednesday, Town Attorney Charles Loveland noted, “Losing the bank should be the most important thing we discuss here tonight.

“We should be looking at getting another bank, and let them (Community Bank) know we’re really unhappy with this.”

Town Supervisor Dan Schrantz concurred, adding that to his knowledge, Brocton’s Mayor Dave Hazelton was already investigating other options for a banking institution to occupy Community Bank’s space, but that he would like to see the town change institutions with its decision to ditch the Brocton/-Portland community.

Loveland, who utilizes Community Bank’s resources for his legal office’s real estate transactions, and Town Clerk Roxane Sobecki both added that driving to Fredonia or Westfield to conduct business will now be an added inconvenience.

“We’re a bedroom community here, and we’re not a very good one without a bank,” stated Sobecki.

Councilman Jerry Boltz added that customers, as well as the town, should be letting Community Bank executives and board members know they’re unhappy with the decision to vacate Brocton.

As of this Wednesday, Mayor Hazelton added that he has reached out to other institutions to inquire about a possibility of another bank taking the space over, but hasn’t heard any positive or negative answers yet.

The mayor noted at his village board of trustees meeting last Wednesday that he did look into what financial regulatory standards Community Bank falls under, and that under federal banking institution regulations, the bank is within its rights to close the Brocton branch.

“This is something we have to talk about at a board level,” Hazelton told his trustees.

“Because we are a municipality, we have to deal with a commercial bank (as opposed to a savings and loan) to take deposits. We may want to look into bonding an employee, or a group of employees within the village, town and school district to make deposits. However, it’s my hope that we get another commercial bank to come here.”