WINTHROP — “I love this bank,” said Bob Russell, after making a transaction at KeyBank on Winthrop’s Main Street. “I’m sure as hell going to miss it.”

The branch is one of four in Maine that KeyBank will close, shutting its doors on April 19.

“I came out here (from Augusta) almost 30 years ago,” said Russell, who lives in East Winthrop. “I like the people, and it was easy, and it’s not so business-y.”

The Whitten Road KeyBank in Augusta will absorb the accounts of the Winthrop branch. Customers were advised via email about the branch closure. The two branches are 8.6 miles apart via Route 202, about 16 minutes, but for some customers, that drive couldn’t be longer.

A businessman from Monmouth who declined to give his name said he makes a lot of check deposits, and now he’ll have to go all the way to Augusta to make those.

“I don’t use a smartphone, so I can’t do the online thing,” he said.

Yet the remote ability to bank — smartphone apps and personal computers — contributed to the reasons KeyBank has closed some locations.

“As client preferences turn more to digital and remote banking channels, branch foot traffic has declined,” said Karen Crane, KeyBank’s senior communications manager for Maine and other northeastern states. “In some locations, that has led us to make the decision to consolidate nearby branches.”

For Chris McGhee of Scarborough, mobile banking suits him.

“I prefer phone,” he said in response to a social media query. “I prefer my banking as minimalistic as possible.”

Crane said that in response to increased customer preference for digital and mobile banking, KeyBank was making greater investments in technology.

“Our decision is in no way a negative reflection on the Winthrop community,” Crane said.

Sarah Fuller, chairperson of the Winthrop Council and board member for the Winthrop Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, said it’s unfortunate to lose any Main Street business.

“We hope that another entity will see the potential in this real estate in the heart of our downtown,” she said.

The chamber lists nine organizations offering financial services in Winthrop and Monmouth.

“I’m confident that KeyBank’s customers will be able to transition to institutions that have enduring commitments to our local community and great track records of customer service,” said Fuller, who is also a corporator for Kennebec Savings Bank.  

Other KeyBank branches closing include Wilton, Bethel and Guilford.

Ashley Shawley, the bank’s area retail leader who manages local branches, did not respond for comment.

Augusta has two KeyBank branches — one on Whitten Road, the other on Water Street. There are also branches located in Gardiner, Lewiston, Auburn, Waterville and Bath.

 

Abigail Austin — 621-5631
[email protected]
Twitter: @AbigailAustinKJ

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