As of Aug. 20, the Bank of America branch in Marion will be no more.

Over the weekend, customers were notified by letter or email that the Bank of America financial center at 120 N. Main St. would close as of Aug. 20.

“We’re closing the financial center,” read the email to customers. “While your account will stay the same, we’re sorry for the inconvenience this closing causes. To minimize the inconvenience, we have many other ways you can continue to bank with us.”

The email states that local customers can switch to online and mobile banking using a computer, smartphone or tablet. Local customers can also use direct deposit of their paychecks and bank by phone on the 24-hour automated service.

The email also addresses the safety deposit boxes inside the branch at 120 N. Main St.

“If you have a safe deposit box at this location, you'll need to close it, even if it’s empty,” read the email. “You’ll receive a separate notice about what to do — if you don't receive it within two weeks of this email, please call or schedule an appointment with us.”

An assistant manager at the local branch declined to comment about the closing. She referred all questions from a McDowell News reporter to a corporate spokesperson.

Jennifer Darwin, senior vice president of corporate communications, said to The McDowell News on Monday the customer accounts at the Marion location will be transferred to the closest financial center, which is in Morganton at the 100 N. Green St.

“Customers who opened accounts or transact regularly at the center were mailed letters last week and information is being distributed in the financial center,” she said.

As for the reason behind the closing, it is because of how the banking industry itself is changing.

“We are seeing a shift in how our clients are banking,” said Darwin to The McDowell News. “Every day, more customers use their mobile phone or online banking to do their basic transactions, and they come into our centers when they want advice and guidance for their more complex needs. In some instances, this has resulted in the closing of financial centers, like this one.

“Our decision here is really based on the need to balance customer preference and opportunities for growing our business. We make every effort to accommodate employees at our other locations and within the company.”

Darwin said she did not know the exact number of employees for the Marion location, but it is generally around 8 to 10.

In November 2016, the Bank of America building was put up for sale through an online auction. Both the bank and a real estate company handling the sale assured a McDowell News reporter at that time the branch could continue here until at least 2023. The building at 120 N. Main St. covers 6,200 square feet and has several office spaces.

Darwin said Monday that the building was sold and is no longer owned by Bank of America.

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