After Chase Bank at the Knolls Crescent shopping center and Capitol One Bank on Riverdale Avenue shuttered, it seems the trend of financial institutions closing in the northwest Bronx is continuing.
It was recently announced that two more banks will be shuttering their doors in the community, Ridgewood Savings Bank on Sedgwick Avenue and Van Cortlandt Avenue West as well as on Jerome Avenue and West Mosholu Parkway North. It is anticipated to close in October.
However, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz has taken notice and feels banks are needed in his district. There is a high senior population, including many who do not drive or adpet with mobile banking. Furthermore, the next closest branch will be located on West 204th Street, which is a lengthy distance from their customers who live in Van Cortlandt Village and Kingsbridge Heights – with a 94-acre reservoir and a busy parkway in between people and their bank.
The lawmaker understands that bank closures have become a nationwide trend and it has affected other parts of the Bronx as well, but is quite upset. He expressed frustration with the situation and pleaded for the banks to remain open in a letter to the president of Ridgewood Savings Bank.
“I can appreciate that you are a private institution that is obligated to make operational decisions that are in the interest of your company overall, but you also provide key banking services to communities that are too often underserved by banks,” he said in the letter. “Please reconsider your decision to close this branch. I strongly urge you to keep this branch open, and I would welcome a conversation to share some additional context about the need for this bank branch on Sedgwick Avenue.”
According to the assemblyman, even if people wanted to switch banks, the options on Broadway are on the other side of a 150-foot elevation change that makes it quite challenging for people with limited mobility to maintain the banking access that they have enjoyed on Sedgwick Avenue.
This closure will also affect small business owners who deposit large sums of cash from their stores, people who send money orders, other transactions that cannot be completed via ATM, website or mobile application. Additionally, many people enjoy going in the bank and have a trustworthy relationship with the tellers.
In a letter to his constituents, the lawmaker expressed the desire to establish banking services at post offices and broached the idea to more actively discuss how to create a public banking system that can supplant the reliance on private corporations for essential banking services.
“I understand that there seems to be an industry-wide trend to move away from retail bank branches, but as you are assuredly aware there are still many people who rely on one person banking services,” Dinowitz said in the letter.