News Column

IN LIGHT OF BANK OF AMERICA DECISION TO CLOSE BRANCHES IN HARTFORD'S NORTH END, MURPHY CALLS ON BANK TO RECONSIDER

July 25, 2014



HARTFORD - U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) released a letter today that calls on Bank of America to reconsider closing its banking branches in the North End of Hartford. Currently, the branches are the only full-service banking centers in the Blue Hills and Northeast area of Hartford. Without access to these branches, North End residents will not only be inconvenienced, but will also be forced to rely on more-risky, less financially sound banking options, such as check cashing centers.

"In previous press announcements you have stated, 'As America's largest bank, we know that our success hinges on the success of the communities we serve'," Murphy said. "To this end, you should help ensure the success of Hartford'sNorth End and maintain sufficient banking center options to meet the community's needs with respect to affordable housing, small business lending, banking transaction, and financial education. I fear that by taking away banking options in these neighborhoods, residents will be steered to more-risky, less financially sound banking options. For instance, families who rely on 'check cashing' locations, rather than institutions like Bank of America, can expect to pay more than $40,000 in extra fees over the course of their lifetimes. This is money that families should be using to pay their bills and save for their futures."

Full text of the letter:

Anne M. Finucane

Global Strategy and Marketing Officer

Bank of America Corporate Center

Charlotte, North Carolina 28255

Dear Ms. Finucane,

I write to express my concern regarding the recent announcement to residents of Hartford'sBlue Hills and North East neighborhoods that Bank of America will be closing two branches in the North End of Hartford. In Bank of America's recent written correspondence to Hartford community members, you note that the decision to close the branches was due to an increase in online and mobile banking in the area.

As I am sure you are aware, aside from a competitor's branch on Albany Avenue, Bank of America is the only bank that currently serves Hartford'sNorth End with full-service banking centers. Closing two-thirds of your banks in this community will leave residents of North East and Blue Hills with no other banking options in their neighborhood. Residents will face considerable inconvenience and possibly safety risks to access the one remaining location on Albany Avenue.

More than the inconvenience this decision produces, I fear that by taking away banking options in these neighborhoods, residents will be steered to more-risky, less financially sound options. For instance, families who rely on "check cashing" locations, rather than institutions like Bank of America, can expect to pay more than $40,000 in extra fees over the course of their lifetimes. This is money that these families should be using to pay their bills and save for their futures.

As you know, Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) with the express purpose of assuring that institutions like Bank of America meet the needs of the communities they operate in, including, of course, low- income neighborhoods. I would hope that, in the spirit of your continued "outstanding" CRA rating, you will reconsider your decision to further reduce your presence in the North End.

Further, I ask that you provide to my office, to the greatest extent possible, the information you used to conclude that customers of the branches you are closing are now using online or mobile banking instead.

Bank of America is a trusted, well-regarded institution in the North End of Hartford and has provided the residents of Blue Hills and North East reliable options for families to save for their futures, business owners to invest in the community, and young couples to buy their first home or car. In previous press announcements you have stated, "As America's largest bank, we know that our success hinges on the success of the communities we serve". To this end, I look forward to working with you to ensure that, together, we do all we can to ensure the success of Hartford'sNorth End and maintain sufficient banking center options to meet the community's needs with respect to affordable housing, small business lending, banking transaction, and financial education.

Sincerely,

CHRISTOPHER S. MURPHY

United States Senator

Read this original document at: http://www.murphy.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/in-light-of-bank-of-america-decision-to-close-branches-in-hartfords-north-end-murphy-calls-on-bank-to-reconsider


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Source: Congressional Documents & Publications


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