Upset by PremierWest Bank’s decision to close its McCloud branch, and further upset by the responses they received when trying to communicate with the bank, a group of McCloud residents met last week with representatives from another bank.

Upset by PremierWest Bank’s decision to close its McCloud branch, and further upset by the responses they received when trying to communicate with the bank, a group of McCloud residents met last week with representatives from another bank.

In response to an invitation from McCloud resident Cherie Glynn, representatives of the Mount Shasta Branch of Scott Valley Bank were in town Thursday morning and afternoon to answer residents’ questions and provide other banking information.

PremierWest is the only bank that has a physical presence in McCloud and that is scheduled to change in April.

Glynn had started a Save Our Bank campaign after the Jan. 12 announcement that PremierWest will be closing 11 branches in northern California and Oregon, including the McCloud branch.

But she and others decided to abandon that effort after receiving what they said were either form letter responses or responses that made it clear “we will be forced to bank in Mount Shasta,” Glynn said.

“Very impersonal,” native McCloudite Raedene Young said of the response she received.

Glynn felt the response she received to her suggested alternatives was “condescending.”

She said the Scott Valley Bank representatives who came to town last week were “extremely concerned about the needs of McCloudites. I opened an account there yesterday and recommend Scott Valley Bank as a choice for changing banks,” Glynn said.

Scott Valley Bank representatives who came to McCloud were Branch Services Administrator John Sparks, Vice President Commercial Loan Officer Lisa Stevens, Assistant Vice President Branch Services Manager Heather Erickson, and Customer Sales Representative Anna Guzman.

“My feelings are closing the bank here really stinks,”?said Patty Ballard-Faulkner, president of the McCloud Recreation Council. “We’re not fortunate enough to have another bank to transfer to here in our town, and having to drive over the hill is going to be a little hard.”

“With special events coming up it means driving over the hill to do night deposits and that’s going to be really inconvenient,” said Faulkner, who handles money for the nonprofit Rec Council organization.

She said she would like to see a mini-bank put in McCloud and open once or twice a week. “That would solve a lot of problems, but the way things stand now, I think I am going to switch banks.”

“I have not yet committed,” said Dave Cook. “If Scott Valley Bank came into town and had a person that I could go into the bank and deal with... yeah, I would probably switch, but for the moment I will stay with PremierWest.”

In the January press release, PremierWest Bank President and CEO Jim Ford listed three reasons for the decline in branch business that led to their decision to consolidate branches – the rise of the Internet and increasing popularity of remote banking; economic conditions in general; and increased government regulation affecting the cost of operating numerous, small neighborhood branches.

In response, Glynn started the short-lived Save Our Bank effort by soliciting and enlisting community support via Facebook. Numerous residents rallied around her and sent letters of protest to Ford, relating the hardships and the impact the move would have on McCloud residents – especially older citizens, businesses and organizations.