By Stephen J. Kotz
It would have been easy to overlook the letter from Capital One Bank because it looked like just another solicitation for a credit card except for the note on the front, “A branch near you is closing. Open to learn more.”
This week, Sag Harbor customers of the bank learned the branch in question was theirs. Both the office at the corner of Main and Washington streets and the drive-through facility on Long Island Avenue will close on July 23.
“As Capital One continues to evolve and optimize our branch network in response to changing customer preferences and to ensure we’re operating as efficiently and effectively as possible, decisions are made to open, renovate, and in some instances, close or relocate branches,” said bank spokeswoman Amanda Landers.
Among those “customer preferences,” said Ms. Landers, is a general migration toward online banking, mobile apps and enhanced ATMs. “Technology is reshaping entire industries,” she said, “and banking is one of them.”
Ms. Landers said Capital One began notifying its customers last week and is encouraging them to stop in to learn about what their options are.
Capital One, which has had a presence on the East End since it acquired the North Fork Bank in 2008, will continue to operate branches at 40 Newtown Lane in East Hampton, 46 Windmill Lane in Southampton, and 95 East Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays, Ms. Landers said. All of those branches will be renovated soon, she added.
The closure will leave Sag Harbor residents with three other banking choices, Apple Bank for Savings, Bridgehampton National Bank, and the Suffolk County National Bank.
Capital One plans to sell both of its Sag Harbor buildings, Ms. Landers said. The main building, at Main and Washington streets, has been assessed at $1.39 million, while the drive-through branch — the only one in the village — is assessed at $654,000, according to village records.
The village building inspector, Tom Preiato, said on Tuesday both buildings are zoned for village business and could be used for a wide-range of uses, from retail stores to offices.
Ms. Landers said Capital One currently employs five people in its Sag Harbor branch. “Three of our associates will be impacted” by the closing, she said, adding that they will be able to apply for openings at other Capital One branches and “are receiving extensive career transition support.” Those who cannot find a place in the company will be eligible for severance packages, which include retraining assistance and outplacement services, she said.
“The decision to close the Sag Harbor branch was one that our bank leaders did not take lightly,” she said. We understand the effect it has on our customers and our associates.”