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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Bank of America leaving west Kansas, downtown Dodge

  • Bank of America is leaving Dodge City in 2015, the last of the bank's Kansas branches west of I-135 to close or be sold as part of a nationwide downsizing of physical locations.
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  • The Dodge City Bank of America will join the other Kansas branches west of I-135 in closing as the national brand reduces its brick-and-mortar assets nationwide.
    The bank has not announced a strict closing date for the downtown branch at 619 N. Second Ave., but it will happen in the first quarter of 2015, Bank of America spokesperson Diane Wagner said in an email to the Globe. ATMs will be removed from both the closed north branch and the downtown branch.
    On July 11, branches in McPherson, Hays, Lindsborg, Hutchinson, Great Bend and Junction City will close. The two branches in Liberal will close on August 8.
    In Kansas, Bank of America will retain branches in Kansas City, Topeka, Wichita and Lawrence, Wagner said.
    In most cases, Bank of America has sold its real estate holdings to local and regional banks as it has planned to exit the region. Bank of America owns the former north branch building at 2307 Central Ave. that was closed last year. The property is for sale, Wagner said.
    The bank leases the downtown building from Varsity Square, a limited liability corporation registered in Nevada. Leases in the building are managed locally by Greg Starks of Coldwell Banker who will be seeking new tenants for the 1930 office building particularly notable for its four-story Stan Herd mural on the south face.
    "The decision to close locations is driven primarily by a decline in transactions as customers increasingly rely on other channels including mobile banking and online banking," Wagner said.
    "Our goal is to find the right balance between streamlining our banking center network and minimizing the impact to our customers and employees."
    Customers will receive notice 90 days before the closing, Wagner said.
    Employees of the branch have already been notified of the closing.
    Bank of America is not alone in downsizing its physical footprint, as 1,487 bank branches were closed in the U.S. 2013, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the most since market analyst SNL Financial began tracking net branch openings in 2002.
    While losing a business downtown is counter to the hopes placed on the district for urban renewal, the loss of Bank of America will have no detrimental effect to the STAR bonds district that includes the building, development corporation director Joann Knight said.
    STAR bonds allow the repayment of certain public and development projects from the state's portion of a marginal sales tax increase above a set baseline of sales taxes collected in the district. As the Bank of America branch is not a significant generator of sales taxes, the city and its goal of urban renewal will not have to dig itself out of a hole left by the vacancy in order to capitalize on the state's sales tax diversion program.

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