Charter Oak to shutter a Groton branch in November
Groton ― Charter Oak Federal Credit Union will close its 625 Long Hill Road branch here in late November, Brian Orenstein, the credit union’s president and chief executive officer, said Wednesday.
The closing will come after Thanksgiving, when Charter Oak’s lease on the property will expire, Orenstein said.
With the lease running out, a modern online banking system in place and traffic at branches in general having declined since the COVID-19 pandemic, “It made no sense to operate that branch,” he said. “We apologize to those who will be inconvenienced. We encourage them to go to one of our other branches. We can also handle all their transactions online or by phone.”
Headquartered in Waterford, Charter Oak has branches at 32 Chicago Ave., Groton, which is about five minutes from the Long Hill Road branch, and at 4 Hendel Drive in the Mystic section of Stonington, about eight minutes away, according to Orenstein.
He said customers of the Long Hill Road branch were informed in mid-June of Charter Oak’s plans to close the branch. He said the branch’s four employees will be offered jobs at other branches.
“It’s hard to find staff,” Orenstein said. “We’ll expand hours at the two nearby branches when this one closes.”
The Long Hill Road branch’s shuttering will leave Charter Oak with 15 branches throughout New London and Windham counties, the most of any credit union or bank operating in that area, Orenstein said.
Charter Oak introduced its Alkami online banking system in March 2020 just as COVID-19 began wreaking havoc. Orenstein said the system has been well received by the credit union’s members.
“Most of our transactions take place online,” he said.
The Long Hill Road branch comprises 12,000 square feet of space on two floors, making it “way too large” for Charter Oak’s needs, Orenstein said. “The last time we renewed our lease was in 2012. Back then, who knew what 2022 would look like?”
Most of Charter Oak’s branches are about 3,000 square feet, he said.