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Sudden bank closure throws grocery customers for a loop PDF Print E-mail
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Written by JOHN MORTON   
Wednesday, 24 May 2017 20:21

Piggly Wiggly loses in-house Guaranty Bank branch


Learning through a Facebook post that his bank closed the night of Friday, May 5, Saukville’s Ralph Drzewiecki made a point to visit its location inside the Piggly Wiggly at 810 Green Bay Ave. the next morning.
“It came as quite a surprise,” he said, as he not only saw the Guaranty Bank where he holds an account closed with a security gate, but its ATM machine also shut down. “There was a sheriff there, and it was kind of scary. The scene reminded me of those old Frank Capra (Depression-era) films, where everyone doesn’t know what to do because their bank suddenly closed. People were shocked.”
bankAnd inconvenienced, Drzewiecki said.
“I was told the nearest branch that was open was in West Bend, but it was quarter-to-12 and I had only 15 minutes to get there before it closed. So that wasn’t happening,” he said. “I couldn’t believe the ATM was shut down. That’s what hurts the most.”
The bank’s employees were also caught off guard, Drzewiecki said.
“They were handing out brochures (explaining the closing),” he said. “They told me their keys didn’t work when they arrived for work and they were notified of nothing.”
Same goes for the grocery store itself. Piggly Wiggly employees said they were given no notice of the decision by federal regulators to close their branch – one of 38 Wisconsin branches that reside in retail stores. The other free-standing locations re-opened immediately as branches of First Citizen Bank & Trust Co. Deposits within Guaranty were automatically transferred.
The other in-store branch in Ozaukee County to close was at the Mequon Sendik’s.
The manager of the Saukville grocery, who asked that neither his name nor his employees’ names be used, said on May 18 that the store did its banking with Guaranty and would stick with it and make deposits at a different branch. The Piggly Wiggly location was Guaranty’s only one in Saukville.
The manager also said he’s seen no decline in grocery sales since the bank closure.
An assistant manager said at least half the store’s employees banked on site, and that the store had taken about two dozen calls from concerned customers.
“Most were from elderly customers,” another employee said. “We promised them their money wasn’t going anywhere.”
It’s those customers Drzewiecki worries about.
“I see them walk by my house with their Piggly Wiggly bags, especially the older folks,” he said. “You have to wonder what they’re going to do. I feel sorry for them. I’m sure a lot of them no longer drive and may not be computer savvy enough for the online banking.
“Like me, they probably liked the fact they could do their shopping and banking in one visit. The store even had Sunday banking hours, which was great.”
Piggly Wiggly’s manager said he has received no word regarding the future of his in-store bank, and that is a bad sign for Drzewiecki.
“I considered holding out to see if someone else moves in there because I have direct deposit and it doesn’t impact me all that much, but what I’m not going to do is pay fees to use another bank’s ATM,” he said. “So it looks like I’m shopping for a new bank.”

 
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