Two Washington County National Bank branches to close

May 28, 1997


Staff Writer

Two branches of Washington County National Bank will close later this summer after the bank merges with Cumberland, Md.-based American Trust, company officials said.

The branches - one in Keedysville and one in Halfway - will stay open for at least 90 days after the merger takes effect June 9. American Trust Marketing Director Shari Delaney said they are close to existing branches.

"(The decision is) based upon studies done in that area and the fact that other offices are in that proximity," she said.


Delaney said bankers in the Keedysville area can go to offices in Boonsboro and Sharpsburg, and the Williamsport branch is close to Halfway.

But several Keedysville area residents who rely on the branch's convenient location have expressed frustration with company officials. They said they plan to circulate a petition to let them know the bank will lose business if the branch closes.

"Needless to say, we're not happy," said Anne Leffler. "My opinion is, if they don't listen to us, I will take my accounts elsewhere, but it won't be to one of their banks."

She is not alone.

Main Street resident Tom Clemens said he will sooner move to a bank near his job at Hagerstown Junior College than drive to Sharpsburg or Boonsboro, where the other branches are.

"It's going to be a major inconvenience," he said. "People want to go to one that's close to them."

Marble Quarry Road resident Barbara Hammond said driving to another bank is a minor inconvenience for some, but will present a major hardship for senior citizens who walk to the current office.

"I hate to see it close. With the growth that Keedysville is having, I don't see why it's necessary," she said. "We have an awful lot of senior citizens that walk to the post office and the bank."

Nancy Ellis, 74, said her husband walks to the post office every day and often to the bank nearby as well. While he will miss it, she said the family can drive to another branch.

For her, it is more of a sentimental loss. She said she has been banking at the century-old office her whole life.

"I guess they say you got to go along with progress. I don't think it will do any good to fight against it," Ellis said. "There's always been a bank in Keedysville in my lifetime. I just hate to see the bank go out of town. It'll never come back."

In addition to the closings, Delaney said customers can also expect a variety of other changes. Their account numbers will change and they will have a wider variety of packages to choose from, she said.

While fees might rise for certain services, Delaney said the overall burden should be less for most customers.

"The changes customers have are very, very positive," she said.

Washington County National Bank will change its name because American Trust's holding company, Keystone Financial Inc., acquired Financial Trust Corp.

Keystone, based in Harrisburg, Pa., owns a number of other companies, including banks, a mortgage company and an investment corporation, Delaney said.

American Trust currently has 14 bank offices in Allegany and Garrett counties and Mineral County, W.Va., but none in Washington County.

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