Franklin Countys First News

Bank closing branches, town officials hope to change that

Main Street, Phillips.

PHILLIPS - Camden National Bank has announced its closing two of its five branches in Franklin County at the end of June. Officials in one town affected will meet with bank representatives later this week to try and keep the branch from closing.

The three employees working at the Phillips branch and the two who work at the Stratton branch will be effected, said Jennifer E. Roper, a spokesperson for the Camden National Corporation based in Camden. The bank is also closing a third branch located in a Hannaford store in the town of Kennebunk, which employs one person.

The decision to close the branches is because there's been a decrease in activity at the Phillips and Stratton branches, she said.

The six employees working at the branches set for closure "are receiving priority job placement within CNB if an opportunity is available, otherwise they will be provided with severance packages," Roper said.

Changing customer habits is to blame, Roper said. "They're not visiting (those branches) and instead are either using different Camden banks closer to where they're shopping or are banking online."

The three other Camden National Bank branches in Franklin County to remain open are located in Kingfield, Farmington and Rangeley. The bank has 50 branches and plans to close a total of three branches.

"This was a very difficult decision for the bank to make and we are currently working with community leaders to address any concerns they may have," Roper said.

Phillips Town Manager Elaine Hubbard has big concerns over the town's only bank closing.

If that were to happen, the closest bank would be 15 miles to Kingifeld. Other bank branches would be an 18-mile ride to Farmington or a 22-mile drive to Rangeley.

In any direction, "it's not an easy trek," Hubbard said. She pointed out two municipalities, Phillips and Avon, use the Phillips branch, which need to make bank deposits on a daily basis. "How do you accomplish that," she asked if the nearest bank is 25 minutes away in good weather.

In addition, a bank is needed for the local businesses, the residents living at the Shadagee senior housing center in town and the elementary school. The bank recently sent a letter to residents and businesses announcing the branch closures but also announced its opening two new branches in Augusta. Hubbard called that news "a slap in the face."

"Beyond all of that, we are rebuilding; trying to bring small and medium-sized businesses to this area. Not having a bank discourages business," Hubbard said. She added she remains "hopeful and optimistic" they can work something out to keep a bank in town. A meeting with town and business owners and representatives with the bank will be held later this week.

"Maybe they will realize the bank should remain open," Hubbard said. The Camden Bank branch in Stratton is also that town's only bank, an employee at Fotter's Market said.

Camden National Corporation purchased United Kingfield in 1999 and rebranded it to Camden National Bank in 2006. The Phillips branch is located at 124 Main Street and the Stratton branch is located 9 School Street.

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22 Responses »

  1. My husband and I have 3 checking and a savings account with Camden. This is a big disappointment to us. It will have a far reaching impact for our community and the local business here in the surrounding towns.
    As a local business owner I will have to travel 18 -25 miles to one of the other branches. I will strongly consider banking with one of the other banks in this case. How sad, they can leave us and open 2 branches in Augusta!

  2. It is sad to have the bank leave. At the same time, Camden has a lot of fees charged that their competitors do not charge. If they leave, perhaps another bank or credit union will cease the opportunity and come to town.

  3. *seize the opportunity

  4. Sounds like some Phillips residents should get together and start the process to charter a new bank. Hopefully it could be done profitably, and the profits would stay in town.

  5. Sounds like a lot of whining to me. I haven't had a bank closer than 20 miles in over 10 years.

  6. Camden has been behind the times. They charge a lot of fees. They have very limited hours/days of operation.
    Their online banking system has too many security loops to go through and they change constantly, I gave up trying to keep track of my acct. online. Their debit cards won't allow you to receive cash back at some stores and they did away with the free ATM withdrawal feature from ATM's other than theirs.
    I hope another bank or credit union moves in to take their place.
    I will be happy to switch my banking if they do.

  7. Franklin Somerset Federal Credit Union is the place to go! The atmosphere is great, friendly and family oriented. The Credit Union has a Branch in Kingfield and Farmington both have ATM machines and they also do not charge the fees that banks charge. check it out.

  8. Use to be a happy customer, until they started moving there employees around and you lost that personal connection. Those Fees??? What ever happen to teaching a child to save money with no fees to if they miss a month they take away a dollar or two. With all the accounts that I over see, I got so I had to do my banking in Kingfield or Farmington because the Phillips Branch would not pay attention. I took a paper that I got in the mail saying if you want to continue having the CD and savings account ( or it would be considered dormant)because of non activity please sign and drop off. Did this twice and they never took care of it . So the third time I went to Farmington and it was done immediately. It is too bad for the bank to leave town, because it will hurt a lot of people, but perhaps the bank itself should of looked internal and see why people were going elsewhere. A SURVEY would have been nice.

  9. Contact Ryan at TD bank in farmington. He will help with all your needs. He did for us.

  10. I should probably reference my source - Town of Farmington - 2012 Annual Town Report - Page 64.

  11. We are very happy with Camden National Bank in Farmington. We have our banking with them for several years and appreciate their professionalism and personal service very much. There is so much fraud and so many scams on the internet, you can't be too safe. Personally, we wouldn't want to do on-line banking with any bank that didn't have several security loops to go through !! Banking compliance is very expensive and we will continue to see an increase in fees and charges in all banks in the future.

  12. Worry not, local folks. I'm starting my own bank soon. I just need to save up enough money to buy one of those time/ temp. signs. Hope this eases some concerns

  13. I can see why---it's so expensive to provide online services and keep brick and mortar branches running.

    It's tough to be a bank right now. You're going to start seeing a lot of mergers. The interest margin that provides income is so compressed and the demands for compliance and security is unreal. Add on fraud losses, employee healthcare, and other expenses and then I'm surprised more don't just throw in the towel entirely.

    Craziness.

  14. Here, after reading the story, I wonder why business people and those needing to run cash receipts every day don't get together and form a credit union.
    Credit unions are cooperative, when you join you become part of the ownership.

    We bank in Augusta, we don't need another Camden National office, you betcha; we use a credit union and have been owner/members for more than 29 years.

    Banks want to get bigger, we want personal service; banks merge and you can vote for your credit union to stay small and local -- that's what keeps the money in town.

  15. And we don't need another bank in Augusta, let alone two. They are gobbling up the fields on Rt. 27 in North Augusta. It used to be a wonderful view, of sunsets especially.

  16. i am glad they are leaving . I hope another bank, that puts it's customers and employees ahead of profits comes to town. If they want to leave let them , some other bank will be glad to handle our money and then maybe more people will bank here in town...

  17. I for one am sorry to see it go...We have had a bank in Phillips for many generations. I worry about the elderly that can now get to the bank and wont be able to do their banking after the closure. The businesses have to make night deposits, when closed this may lead to break ins at the stores because they know that the business didnt deposit at the bank. Edmunds cashes a lot of ppl's checks because the bank isnt open when they get paid. Now they may not have this convenience for the townspeople. I do agree that the personal touch isnt there anymore as we have different ppl working different times...When we had Liz and Cindy and Carrie in there it was awesome to go into the bank knowing they knew you and gave you good customer service..and I also agree it was a "slap" in the face to give us the letter and also state 2 other branches are opening in Augusta. We need a bank in this town. It isnt just Phillips ppl that use it.
    My husband and I both have checking accounts there as well as 2 accounts for our grandkids..It doesnt get much interest and if it is not active they take away a buck or 2..
    Maybe we do need to look into a credit union..hummmm!

  18. Don't forget that Credit Unions don't pay Federal and State taxes like banks do. Closing two low performing branches during an ecomonic crisis, which would allow Camden National to survive, was likely a difficult but necessary choice for them.

    If it truly bothers you, and you insist on finding another bank, consider one that is mutual (does not have shareholders and values customer ownership like a Credit Union) and is also a business that helps fund the State and Federal programs that you benefit from. All the money handed out by the government has to come from somewhere. Franklin Savings is an example of a mutual bank, not to say that Camden is any less worthy of your business; they pay their taxes too.

  19. I have to admit, I saw this coming. The lack of staffing was the first clue.
    Liz, Cindy and Carrie were wonderful with their customer service, (as were many who came before and after them), but that was the individual, not the "corporation".
    They all left, one by one and one must wonder "Why is that?" Is it because they were treated poorly by CNB??
    Small town banking left the area when Camden took over Kingfield Bank.
    I too, feel for the elderly, disabled and businesses.
    The best case would be another bank, like Franklin Savings or The Credit Union taking over and bringing back the small town banking that we've all grown accustomed too.
    Also very saddened about Stratton, for many of the same reasons.

  20. I hope that Edmunds will be able to contract out with another bank, as they house our only ATM in town.

  21. NHAnnie, I didn't realizze that Credit Unions didn't pay Federal or State Taxes. They may not but they do employ local people and have much better service than any bank I've ever been a member of. Not sure if all Credit Unions do but Otis in Jay pays out dividends to their customers. That's hundred of thousands of dollars that I can only summize goes back into the community (I know mine does), quite a stimulus if you ask me.

    I live in New Sharon but I'm more than happy to travel the distance as they are great there, been with them now for over 25 years and nothing short of them closing will ever make me go elsewhere.

  22. Sure hope Camden National Bank treats its employees better than it is treating its Phillips branch customers.
    Makes me wonder what their severance package consists of.... John & Emily have done a wonderful job as tellers here in Phillips. They are an asset to C.N.B., and hopefully, will be treated as such.

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