While the number of branches in Chittenden County is going up, rural areas are losing physical bank locations. “Well at Mascoma Bank, we’ve been lending commercial and residential loans for more than 10 years. Our customers said if we wanted to grow more, we had to have a branch here,” said Scott Young, the chief retail officer at Mascoma Bank. Pieciak says COVID expedited the mobile banking trend in those areas.
Pieciak says Chittenden County is the most economically vibrant county in the state. Both regional and national banks have been expanding their footprints here. “You can look around and see all the different housing developments being built. People are moving here. Businesses are moving here. Banks are going to follow that economic activity, as well,” said Michael Pieciak, the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation.
“We have seen an influx of business customers coming in. Our small business support, middle-market and just business with Chase is really helpful,” said Steven Wald, a branch manager at Chase Bank. Eleven new bank branches have opened in Chittenden County since 2018.
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However, Pieciak says whenever a bank moves out of a rural area, the Department of Financial Regulation does everything in their power to encourage a new one to move in. “We found a lot of Vermonters who maybe didn’t use mobile banking before the pandemic and were forced to use the mobile banking actually appreciate it and would like using it to move forward,” Pieciak said.
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