ANDERSON — PNC Bank will close its downtown branch in mid-October and combine its operations with the Mounds Mall branch.

According to a letter sent to account holders, the Anderson Central branch, which had been closed temporarily during the COVID-19 pandemic, will close permanently on Oct. 16.

“It is important to note that uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic could impact the planned process for this transition,” the letter reads. “We remain committed to serving you with as minimal further disruption as possible.”

The decision undoubtedly will hurt the downtown business community in the short term as workers will lose the convenience of walking to the bank to conduct transactions, said Greg Winkler, executive director of the Anderson Economic Development Department.

“Losing a bank, especially the central branch that’s been there a long time, it’s a blow,” Winkler said. “There’s a lot of consolidation now with banks and how they serve customers.”

A PNC spokesperson said an evaluation of the branch’s effectiveness in meeting customer needs was conducted independently of the impacts created by the pandemic. Those evaluations, along with an acknowledgment of customers increasingly choosing online and mobile platforms as well as ATMs as avenues for conducting business, led to the decision to close the downtown branch.

“The services offered through these alternative channels provide convenient and robust options,” said Marcey Zwiebel, director of corporate public relations for PNC, in an email. “Increasingly, customers are opting to use them to conduct the basic banking transactions they once visited a branch to complete.”

Zwiebel added that efforts will be made to reassign staffers at the downtown branch to other positions within the company.

“This may include moving to another branch or into a different type of role,” Zwiebel said. “We aim to provide opportunities for employees that are a good fit for them based on their skills and experience.”

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