Bank closures: Dunsmuir to lose last bank, Weed Mechanics Bank to merge with Mount Shasta

Shareen Strauss
Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers
The Mechanics Bank in Weed will close on April 9, 2021.

Two different bank branches are closing in south Siskiyou County this spring. US Bank in Dunsmuir – the community’s only remaining bank – is shuttering on May 10. On April 9, Mechanics Bank in Weed is closing and consolidating with the Mount Shasta branch.

According to US Bank CEO Andy Cecere, who is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the US Bank strategy involves shutting down 10 to 15% of their locations by early 2021. About 75% of these new closures will involve branches that were already temporarily closed due to COVID-19.

The US Bank branch in Weed, located at 269 Main Street, will remain open, Cecere noted.

Mechanics Bank director of communications Greg Jones said the bank is “bringing our resources together at a central location in the south county.”

Accounts based in Weed will automatically transfer to the Mount Shasta Mechanics Bank branch, located in the Mt. Shasta Shopping Center on April 9. Jones pointed out the facility is “spacious” with convenient parking and customers with accounts transferring "have been notified."

The decision was made because the number of walk-ins has decreased with mobile and online banking, Jones added.

Scott Valley Bank became Mechanics Bank in 2018.

Managers at both banks will have the option of transferring to another branch where a manager position is open. 

Some in the community are not happy about the change. Randy Chalenor, a Weed Mechanics Bank customer, said he was a longtime customer of Bank of America before it closed all its Siskiyou County locations.

“I researched and went to Scott Valley Bank, which Mechanics Bank took over, and now they are closing,” said Chalenor. “I have renters that pay at the bank and they won’t be able to go to Mount Shasta so I guess I’m again going to find a new bank.”  

Changing habits

The behavior of bank customers is changing rapidly, according to a study by the consultancy firm McKinsey & Company. In 2018 the clip of bank branch closures was three per day, totaling more than 10,000, the study noted.

The number of bank branches in the U.S. has declined by 5.1% between 2017 and 2020 to just over 80,000, according to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition

“Since 2017, more than 4,400 branches were closed across the country, bringing the total number of branches closed since the Great Recession started in 2008 to over 13,000,” according to a press release from the NCRC. “Nationally, low- and moderate income neighborhoods lost as many as 6% of their branches, higher than the overall national average.”

Though mobile and internet banking are often cited as the main reasons for branch closures, the NCRC noted “the rapid pace of bank mergers since the Great Recession are more likely the driving factor in many closures.”

“The impact of these closures is severe, especially on rural and lower-income urban communities where few branches exist at all,” said Jesse Van Tol, CEO of NCRC. “These communities are left vulnerable to payday lenders, online installment lending and contract buyer scams. These closures also make it harder for local businesses to secure loans to expand their business, and in high minority and low- to moderate-income communities that already lack many branches even a small loss is particularly concerning.”