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The TD Bank branch on Main Street will close in April.

TD Bank, Citizens Bank Closing in North Adams

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city is losing two bank branches in the next couple of months. 
The TD Bank branch on Main Street will close in April and the Citizens Bank branch in Stop & Shop will be replaced by an automated kiosk in February. 
TD Bank informed its customers by letters dated Jan. 21 that the bank will close on April 23. The Spring Street location in Williamstown and the two branches in Pittsfield will remain open. 
TD Bank, in a statement to iBerkshires on Tuesday, said the decision to close the branch at 90 Main St. was done "after a thorough review."
"In reaching a decision to close a specific TD Bank store, we consider many business factors, including the number of Customers visiting our stores, transaction volumes, the location's proximity to other TD Bank stores and the number of Customers who use multiple store locations. We have already begun notifying impacted customers. Our goal is to make this transition as smooth as possible for them," bank officials said in the statement. 
The letter to customers was brief, stating that "we're moving in with our TD Bank neighbors close by" and reminding them of the app and online avenues for transactions. 
"Our stores remain an important pillar of our strategy and we are committed to reinvesting across our footprint which could include Store renovations, new store locations, or the expansion of our ATM Network, while continuing to make further investments in our digital and mobile platforms in response to evolving Customer preferences," according to the statement. 
Mayor Thomas Bernard, speaking at Tuesday's City Council meeting, said he was just learning about the letters TD sent to customers and that he was trying to get more information.
"I have a number of concerns about that, first of all for the well-being of the employees who may be able to find positions with other branches but some who may be looking for other positions," he said. "This is a tough time for anybody to be facing that. ... I'm finding it hard to understand why you would close a prominent downtown branch that has a drive-up and ATM."
He said he was also concerned about a population that may not find it easy to travel to Williamstown or use online banking over a prominent, downtown bank. 
"If the message is, well if you can't get to Williamstown or Pittsfield branch for transportation reasons or because public transit doesn't doesn't help you, just bank online," he said. "That's not necessarily the service that everybody's going to be looking for ... We talk a lot about the importance of supporting local businesses, and as concerned as I am about the loss of this business we do have other local institutions that continue to serve. 
"Nobody likes the prospect and the process of changing a bank account or a prescription or or any kind of any kind of paperwork, but hopefully if people choose to do that, our institutions will make that as easy as possible for them."
There has been a bank in that area of Main Street for more than a century. The site had been the former North Adams National Bank that was demolished in 1963 along with its marble lobby. The bank had earlier merged with what was then Hoosac Savings Bank across the street. 
First Agricultural Bank, which had offices next door, purchased the former bank building and another property and razed both, the first buildings taken down for urban renewal. The current 6,900-square-foot building was constructed by First Agricultural as its new offices. The bank was later First Massachusetts/Banknorth and has been TD Bank since a merger in 2005.
TD Bank did not provide any information on what will become of the property and if all the employees will be transferred. TD Bank closed two other branches, in Adams and Dalton, in 2013.
Citizens Bank announced in November that it would be closing 26 branches in Stop & Shop supermarkets in Masssachusetts including the local one. Most of the closures are in the eastern part of the state but two in Springfield — at Cooley Street and Boston Road — and one on Riverdale Road in West Springfield will also close. 
Another 14 branches in other states are also expected to close. Citizens' spokesman Rory Sheehan told Boston 25 News last month that "in-store branches remain part of our overall strategy to help customers bank when, where and how they prefer, but these reformats are part of our ongoing effort to review customer patterns, optimize branch locations, and make adjustments as appropriate."
The kiosks will allow customers to make deposits and withdrawals. The North Adams branch is set to close Feb. 11.
Citizens has ATMs at the Cumberland Farms on Ashland Street and Hodges Cross Road, and the convenience stores in Adams and Williamstown; the nearest branch location is the Stop & Shop on Merrill Road in Pittsfield. There is also bank on Main Street in Bennington, Vt.

Tags: bank,   store closings,   

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State Education Board Approves Push for In-School Learning

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

DESE Commissioner Jeffrey Riley explains the reasoning for getting students back in classrooms and off remote learning. 
BOSTON — Schools across the state are being ordered to resume in-classroom instruction as soon as possible, beginning with elementary grades on April 5. 
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted 8-3 on Friday afternoon to accord DESE Commissioner Jeffrey Riley authority to change requirements for learning time that would not include remote learning.
Families would still have the ability to remain remote for the rest of this school year and some schools may be able to get waivers, but the state would have the ability to hold back Chapter 70 education funds for schools out of compliance. 
The vote followed hours of testimony from medical professionals, educators and parents that veered from strongly encouraging the return to school as an important to students' health, well-being and educational needs to cautions that many schools did not have the ability to provide adequate spacing or COVID-19 precautions and calls for school employees to be vaccinated prior to any return. 
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