FILER, ID – Filer will no longer have a bank.
The south central Idaho city — 47th largest in the state as of 2017, with a population of 2,851 as of 2018 — will lose its single U.S. Bank branch effective January 2, when the company shuts it down along with 11 other branches statewide.
“Last month we notified employees and customers that five locations in Idaho that have been temporarily closed as part of operational changes the bank made in March in response to the pandemic would close permanently with an effective date of November 1,” said U.S. Bank Communications Manager Boua Xiong, the Minneapolis-based press contact for the state of Idaho, in an email message. “We also notified employees and customers that seven additional locations across the state will close on January 2, 2021.”
In addition to Filer, other closures on the list include four branches in Boise, and one each in American Falls, Bellevue, Coeur d’Alene, Hazelton, Lewiston, Pocatello and Shelley.
“It is always disappointing when a business closes,” said Connie Stopher, executive director for Southern Idaho Economic Development, in an email message. “I think the bank closing in Filer will be a struggle for individuals and businesses who did still rely on in-person banking.”
Founded in 2001, Southern Idaho Economic Development is a joint venture of public and private sectors throughout the Magic Valley, and is intended to help diversify and strengthen the local economy by retaining and attracting business to the Southern Idaho region, according to the organization’s website. It covers 13 Idaho cities, as well as Lincoln County.
Filer’s not alone. Other Idaho cities have also been left bankless in recent years — particularly in rural areas — when the single bank in town has shut down, such as Grand View in 2017.
Stopher understands how it happens. “I think we’ve seen many businesses hard-hit from COVID, but we are also seeing a lot of people change the way they interact with businesses,” she said. “Many people are still interacting with service providers like banks but are using online and mobile options. That was true before the pandemic and is even more so now. I think many businesses that are seeing that shift have been considering scaling back their physical footprints and that will be a negative for those who are not able to access services they need online and for the commercial market.”
And that’s how U.S. Bank explains it. “These closures are part of previously discussed work that kicked off in early 2019 to optimize our branch delivery networks in response to changing customer preferences and behaviors,” Xiong said, adding “Although we are closing some branches, we are continuing to open and enhance others, as well as rapidly enhancing our digital capabilities.”
While closing the branches, U.S. Bank is doing what it can to support the employees, Xiong said.
“Impacted employees wishing to stay with the organization will have the opportunity to apply for other openings that may be available, particularly in areas that include our mortgage division and customer care centers where we have identified the need for additional support while allowing for flexibility in work location. Opportunities at other branches may be a possibility as well,” Xiong said. “Employees will remain with the company in their current role until January unless they elect to move on before that time. This applies to all of the locations regardless of the effective close date. In addition, a comprehensive severance package and outplacement services will be offered to individuals who elect to move on at the end of their notice period.”
In the meantime, the U.S. Bank branch building in Filer is up for sale, and Stopher is hopeful. “This could be an opportunity for another bank to come in and fill that gap,” she said.
Grand View’s bank branch is still vacant, according to a city official.r