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ELM CITY — BB&T has announced plans to shutter the branch at 111 E. Main St. on Dec. 1.
"For several years, BB&T has reviewed the business strength of our financial center in Elm City," said BB&T Vice President of Corporate Communications David R. White. "Based on many factors, including client usage patterns, (the) decision was made to close this branch."
Longtime town Commissioner Melvin Cooke said the news was anything but welcome given that company with roots in Wilson is the town's loan bank.
"We tried everything we could do to try making it so they wouldn't close," Cooke said. "I understand it is not just Elm City though. I think they are trying to get out of a lot of little towns."
White said the chain regularly evaluates the "viability, convenience and physical conditions" of banks and does not take the decision lightly. He encouraged customers to use the bank's various other platforms for services and visit the bank at 2214 Nash St. N. in Wilson.
"I think BB&T thought all their customers will go to Wilson, but I don't think that will happen," Cooke said. "I think they will have a lot going to Southern Bank in Sharpsburg because it is closer."
White said the handful of employees from the branch are transferring to other locations.
"We're hopeful we can recruit another regional bank to Elm City," said Town Manager Jonathan Russell. "We feel like it is a good market that a bank could benefit from a local branch."
Cooke said the closure of the bank along with the town's longstanding drug store in recent years are not indicators of the town's viability. In July, the town unveiled the complete renovation of the historic train depot into a community center and it has been consistently rented for private functions since. The building also will be the location of a town and railroad museum in the coming months.
"We feel like the town is getting ready to have a boom of development," Cooke said.