The Bank of America branch in Woodstock’s Bradley Meadows Shopping Center is set to close on April 24, 2018, “give or take” according to Bank of America spokesperson Tara Burke. “In this day and age, foot traffic is down as more and more people take to banking online,” Burke said as explanation of her company’s move. “Staffed inventory is an expense…”
Burke added that Woodstock Bank of America customers would be asked to shift their in-person banking to branches on Ulster Avenue and Washington Avenue in Kingston, seven miles away. She added, when asked how long Bank of America had been in its Woodstock site, that it “was difficult to figure out histories given the nature of legacy banks.”
Bob Whitcomb, co-owner of Bradley Meadows and its main business, Sunflower Foods, added that as far as future plans for the bank building that was once an A&P supermarket, a longtime home to Woodstock Video, and now houses Woodstock Healing Arts and A&P Bar, he’s “not sure what the future will bring. At this point we anticipate being able to rent it.”
“First I heard of this was on Facebook yesterday,” said town supervisor Bill McKenna on December 5. “It sounds like they weren’t very good at notifying people.”
Everyone conjectured at the site’s history, ranging from its early years as an A&P Supermarket from when Bradley Meadows was first built in the same location.
“I think Rondout National Bank was here first,” noted Whitcomb. “They were in where the pharmacy was.”
An October, 1969 Kingston Freeman advertisement for Bradley Meadows mentions that establishment, the A&P, a Woodstock Delicatessen, Colonial Pharmacy, Woodstock Pine & Pewter, and two music stores in the shopping plaza beyond the Atlantic & Pacific tea Company store.
Later, when A&P closed its store, the site became a Norstar Bank, later bought out by Fleet, then later by Bank of America in 2004.
Bank of America held openings for local artists, who showed their work on its walls. The bank employed many fine area residents, who served the public here admirably.
But the history of Bank of America, currently listed as our nation’s second largest bank by assets and its 26th largest company by revenue, is meanwhile its own story, from its start as the San Francisco-based Bank of Italy in 1904, merger with Bank of America, Los Angeles in 1928, sudden growth out of California in the 1980s, and notorious buying spree of the past 17 years. It’s mammoth reach has seen it swallow MBNA as a means of entering the credit card industry, Countywide Financial to get into subprime mortgages, Merrill Lynch several years ago, while it went on to having received billions of dollars in fines over the past decade for everything from bilking the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to the defrauding of schools, small businesses, hospitals and its own customers while simultaneously downsizing with impunity during the worst periods of the recent Great Recession.
When asked if the Woodstock bank closing was part of a larger trend, Bank of America regional spokesperson Burke added, “It’s something we look out for from time to time as we consolidate to address business-wide concerns.”