GURLEY, Ala. (WHNT)– Cadence Bank representatives confirm the Gurley branch is shutting down October 30th.
A sign is posted on the door, telling customers this will not affect their accounts. The company is referring customers to the Hampton Cove branch on Mountain Cove Boulevard as an alternative.
Customers say that’s not ideal because now, they will have to go out of the way to get to a bank that has been centrally located in town for decades.
Dwight McClure told us, “We don’t want it to happen. We want it to stay. It’s part of Gurley, to us anyway.”
McClure says his disability makes mobility difficult, making it much harder to get to a bank he need to use often.
Robbin Mikesell, who lives near Gurley, is also upset. She describes the moment she received the news: “I was just dumbfounded and seeing red, I couldn’t believe they were going to remove our only banking facility in Gurley,” she said.
Mikesell feels so strongly that she created a petition to keep the bank.
She asked area businesses to post it and encourage customers to sign.
They got more than 600 names, Gurley Mayor Robert Sentell told WHNT News 19.
“They went above and beyond. I mean I got pages and pages and pages and pages,” Mikesell said.
When she sent the signatures to the bank, representatives responded with a letter that described the choice to close the bank was not easy. It explained the closure was a strategy for efficiency, offering mobile banking as a way to close the distance between Gurley customers and the Hampton Cove branch in the future.
For Mikesell, that just doesn’t work.
“I don’t even have internet access,” she said. “He mentioned smart phones? People don’t have all that technology out here. This is an old community– there’s a lot of elderly along with handicapped and disabled. I’m one of them. I need to get into the bank.”
She tells us she values the person-to-person contact of a bank close to home.
“We need the bank in our community,” she said. “I don’t even own a gas-efficient vehicle [to drive the extra miles.]
Her strategy is to work hard to put up a fight and get the decision reversed. But if not– “at least I’ll know if it doesn’t work, I did everything I could,” she said.
WHNT News 19 received this statement from Cadence Bank regarding the Gurley closure:
Banking is an evolving industry, and the decision to close a branch is never an easy one. At Cadence, our branch network is an essential part of our customer experience. We understand there will always be transactions that customers prefer to conduct face-to-face, and we are intent on providing a strategic blend of digital and in-person banking experiences to best serve our clients.
Many of our customers today increasingly rely on mobile and online banking to conduct their transactions. Cadence has invested considerable resources to provide alternate opportunities for our customers to do their banking whenever and wherever they choose. Further, in the event of any closure, we make every attempt to ensure a Cadence Bank branch is accessible to most of our customers within a reasonable distance.
We have enhanced the capabilities of our Call Center to help customers with their banking needs through extended and weekend hours. We also have expanded banking services that we can discuss with our affected customers, effectively allowing them to carry a virtual branch in their pocket.
Retail Banking Executive
Mayor Sentell tells WHNT the petition may have done some good, though. He confirms there are negotiations for a new bank to move into the Cadence building in Gurley, once that one leaves town. He said Mikesell’s petition may have increased outside interest in the space.