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Wells Fargo in BE closing in March

CCF Bank in Minnesota Lake was closed this past November

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Jan 4, 2021

The Wells Fargo Bank branch office in Blue Earth has been closed due to COVID-19 for months. Now it will permanently close on March 24, at 12 p.m.

Customers of the Wells Fargo bank in Blue Earth, which has been temporarily closed because of COVID-19, received word in a letter dated Dec. 18, the local branch would be permanently closing on March 24, 2021, at 12 p.m.

The letter, which came from Wells Fargo district manager Julie Schoenecker, stated, “As we work to provide convenient banking options, occasionally we need to make changes to our branch network by opening and closing locations.”

Schoenecker explained the closing of the local branch, located at 201 East Seventh St., does not affect the accounts of people who currently bank at Wells Fargo and they are still able to bank at other Wells Fargo locations, as well as doing all of their banking online.

The closest Wells Fargo branches in the area which will remain open are located in Albert Lea and Mankato.

Notice was also given that customers who have a safe deposit box at the bank will receive a separate letter at a later time, with instructions on how and when to come clear out their box.

“This (closing the bank in Blue Earth) is unfortunate,” Schoenecker told the Register this week. “But, Wells Fargo has made it known for some time they were going to close some of their branch offices. This is the third one (closure) I have been involved with this year. The other two were in Faribault and Owatonna.”

The announcement of the closing of the bank in Blue Earth comes on the heels of the Citizens Community Federal National Association (CCF Bank) closing its branch in Minnesota Lake on Nov. 12.

In a press release, bank officials stated more bank customers are using online banking.

Following the closing of the bank, CCF customers have the option of traveling to Wells CCF bank for in-person banking.

The announcement of the closing of the bank caught residents and town officials by surprise.

According to an article in the Minnesota Lake Tribune, neither the mayor or the Minnesota Lake City Council had any idea of CCF’s intention to close the Minnesota Lake branch.

The focus of city officials is now two-fold. They would like to come up with a way to utilize the former CCF bank building while also pursuing the possibility of bringing a different banking institution to town.

If they are able to convince another bank to come to Minnesota Lake, they will need to find a different location.

The Tribune also reported Kelsey Warmka, community bank president with an office at the Wells CCF Bank, told city officials CCF Bank is not interested in selling the local bank building to house another financial institution.

“I have been given a little bit of liberty as far as what I can do with the building,” Warmka told the City Council. “If someone has some ideas, I am interested in looking into what can happen.”

One idea which was raised at a later meeting involved the option of CCF Bank gifting the building to the city.

The Minnesota Lake Economic Development Authority met on Dec. 10. The meeting focused on the projected costs associated with owning the bank building and possible uses for the building such as office space for the city or for other businesses.

Also discussed at the meeting was the outlook for getting another financial institution to come to the city.

The Tribune reported EDA president Jim More, who is a retired banker, had been in contact with several area banks but their responses have been less than encouraging.

“We will continue to pursue the banking option into the new year,” More commented.

The situation involving the bank building will be brought up for discussion at the next council meeting on Jan. 12.