By Greg Bird
Account holders of Forcht Bank in McCreary County may soon have to look for other banking alternatives, or continue their fiscal relationship online or at a branch in another county.
Forcht Bank customers received a letter from Forcht’s Somerset Market President Martin Cranfill last week notifying them that the McCreary Banking Center will be closing its doors on November 9.
“Forcht Bank has been serving the banking needs of communities across Kentucky since 1985,” the letter reads. “However, advances in technology and shifting consumer banking habits have drastically changed the banking industry. More and more customers are choosing to bank with us exclusively online and by mobile phone. Given this trend, we have decided to close our McCreary Banking Center.”
Eddie Woodruff, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for the bank said closing the branch came down to economics.
“It was a tough decision,” he said. “Obviously it affects the community, and we don’t take it lightly. It was just no longer economically feasible. We held off as long as we could.”
Woodruff stated the growing trend of customers switching to more online banking makes it difficult to maintain the physical locations, and noted more and more banks across the nation are consolidating locations.
Woodruff added the bank is looking to work with existing employees at the McCreary branch to offer relocation opportunities for those who may wish to stay with the bank.
“We are looking on an individual basis for those who may wish to relocate and try to accommodate them,” he said.
According to the letter Forcht customers in McCreary County do not need to take any action concerning their accounts, as they will remain open and active. Customers can still access their account via online or app, as well as visiting one of 21 locations throughout the area. The closest branch will now be located in Somerset at 4710 South Highway 27.
Safe deposit box holders will be contacted separately with information concerning their valuables.
Customers with questions concerning the closure are asked to contact Cranfil at 606-676-9500 or by email at email@example.com
The McCreary branch opened in 1994 as McCreary National Bank, and merged with Somerset National Bank in 2004 as part of the Forcht expansion. In 2007 McCreary, and all Forcht-owned banks were consolidated under one charter- Forcht Bank.
A branch bank in Pine Knot was opened in 1998, but closed a few years ago, leaving local customers with only one local branch.