Branch Pruning

Cost cutting hits local banks

Every Main Street, U.S.A., needs a few vital businesses: a grocery store, a pharmacy, a barber shop and a bank. So when the Bank of America decided to close its branch in Piru, Calif, (pop. 1,284), the residents felt stranded. They would now be forced to drive eight miles on a winding road to Fillmore (pop. 9,602) to do their banking. "We didn't realize that people would get as excited as they did," said Thomas Beeler, the bank's area manager, after facing 100 shouting citizens at a Piru town meeting.

Piru's plaint is one heard increasingly often as...

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