As Chemung Canal Trust absorbs Central New York's Bank of America branches, Ithaca customers do have options

August 28, 2013

Longtime Ithaca residents with Bank of America accounts are probably used to their bank changing names, though this may be the first time the institution has gotten smaller. Effective this fall, six Bank of America branches in Central New York will become Chemung Canal Trust Company branches, and accountholders will have their accounts transferred.

Bank of America on the Ithaca Commons. 14850 Photo.Bank of America on the Ithaca Commons. 14850 Photo.Ithaca's main Bank of America branch, in the erstwhile First National Bank building on the Ithaca Commons, has also been a branch or main office of First Bank and Trust, Norstar Bank, Security Norstar Bank, Fleet/Norstar, and Fleet Bank along the way. It's one of two Ithaca branches changing hands; the other is a newer, standalone building at the intersection of Elmira Road and Meadow Street in Ithaca's Southwest.

Also changing hands in the proposed acquisition, which is expected to close "in the fourth quarter of 2013," are two Bank of America branches in Auburn, one in Cortland, and one in Seneca Falls. Chemung Canal Trust Company, established in Elmira in 1833, plans to retain all staff at the affected branches.

"Customers will continue to do business with the same friendly and knowledgeable staff of professional bankers," said Ronald M. Bentley, President and CEO of Chemung Canal Trust, in a statement. The company has been actively expanding across the region through acquisitions for the last several years, acquiring three M&T Bank (formerly Citizen's Bank) branches in 2008, the Bank of Canton in 2009, and Capital Bank & Trust in 2011.

Bank of America says that checking and savings accounts, IRAs, and CDs belonging to consumers and small businesses will be transferred to Chemung Canal Trust, as will safe deposit boxes in the six branches. Some loans serviced locally will be transferred, as well. Credit cards, mortgages, investment accounts other than IRAs and CDs, and merchant service accounts will remain with Bank of America.

The company says customers who prefer to keep their personal accounts with Bank of America may do so, and may call 866-251-0233 to ask to have their accounts excluded from the transfer.

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