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The Nicholson branch is to close April 12.

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STAFF PHOTOS/ROBERT BAKER The Nicholson branch of First National Bank will be closing this spring and merging its operations with the Tunkhannock FNB branch.

First National Bank is directing its Nicholson customers to Tunkhannock, as its Nicholson branch is set to close this spring.

“Based on an ongoing evaluation process that helps us maintain an efficient and effective service network, we have decided to combine the Nicholson office at 57 Main St. with our Tunkhannock office at 74 East Tioga St. on April 12, 2019,” said FNB spokesperson Jennifer Reel.

FNB continually evaluates its branch network, which involves examining factors such as convenience, shifts in consumer banking preferences, transaction volumes, operating costs, proximity to other FNB locations and more, Reel explained.

Gina Suydam, president of the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce, said just like any other business, banks also need to evaluate foot traffic, and modern banking methods allow customers to skip physical trips to the bank.

“Many residents of Nicholson are working outside of Nicholson, so they might be frequenting a different location. That all attributed to the decision to close the Nicholson branch,” Suydam said.

Customers who bank at the Nicholson branch will have extended weekday hours at the Tunkhannock branch, Reel said, and the FNB ATM in Nicholson will remain in place for a period of time after the branches combine.

The two branches have a 20-minute driving distance between them.

Reel said customers can continue banking through their preferred channels, such as the branch network, telephone banking or FNB’s online and mobile banking services.

Suydam said Nicholson Borough has seen a decrease in the number of businesses that are open, and the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce is available as an economic driver to help with this problem.

However, Suydam said it’s preferred that Wyoming County boroughs reach out to the chamber first.

“We would like the borough to approach us as they have in the past when the chamber helped them with the Streetscape project in 2018,” Suydam said. “We’re certainly willing to help the borough to attract new businesses, but we need the borough to start that initiative.”

In 2017, FNB gave Lackawanna Trail School District $5,000 in exchange for the naming rights to its high school auditorium.

Reel said FNB moving out of the Nicholson area will not affect this partnership with Lackawanna Trail in any way.

As for personnel, Reel said when a branch closes, FNB makes every effort to move employees to another location when possible.

“We strive to ensure that employees receive priority treatment to apply for open positions, regardless of location, before they are filled,” she said.