In response to the July 3 editorial “Avella the Banker? No,” I respectfully disagree. The fact is that my legislation will not establish any new regulations that do not currently exist.
The State of New York already has oversight of state-chartered banks to ensure that ample data is collected and reviewed prior to bank branches closing down. As you correctly point out, currently, federally chartered banks are only required to provide a 90-day notice to their customers prior to the closure.
But to say that the community gives its input by not depositing enough money is a bit misguided. If any bank settles into a community, establishes relationships and takes money from area residents, there should be more accountability when that branch decides to close. “Reviewing the impact in the name of ‘community input’” is exactly what is needed for these bank branches that come and go as they please.
My legislation would simply address the present inequity in bank branch oversight between state- and federally chartered banks. These branches are oftentimes crucial to the economy of the neighborhood where they are located and area residents should have a fighting chance in keeping these institutions open if the closure will have significant negative impact on the surrounding community.
There have been plenty of times throughout history when private financial institutions took advantage of public resources and the government had no choice but to step in. Let us make federally chartered banks undergo the same review process that is currently in place for state-chartered banks. Members of the public, who invest their own monetary resources into these institutions, have a right to be heard.