TD Bank closing Chester branch in December

The TD Bank on Main Street in Chester will be closing on Dec. 7. All photos by Shawn Cunningham.

By Cynthia Prairie
2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Across the area on Friday, customers of TD Bank in Chester opened their mail to learn that Friday, Dec. 7 would be the last day that branch, at 48 Main St., would be open.

The loss leaves those who wish to save locally with two choices: People’s Bank at 58 S. Main St. and One Credit Union at 569 VT-103.

“Dear Valued Customer,” the TD Bank letter starts out, “It’s not goodbye forever … We’re moving in with our TD Bank neighbors close by.”

TD Bank, whose motto is “America’s Most Convenient Bank,” did offer customers help in finding new branches, listing three “nearby locations:”

  • Bellows Falls (which is 13.2 miles from the front door of the Chester branch to the door of the Bellow Falls branch, a 20-minute drive),
  • Manchester Center (29.5 miles door-to-door, a 40-minute drive) and
  • Brattleboro (37.3 miles door- to-door, also a 40-minute drive).

Lisa Sawicki, vice president of corporate communications for TD Bank, said in an interview Friday afternoon that the Chester store (TD Bank refers to branches as ‘stores’) “is not getting enough customers. The traffic just is not has high as other locations.”

While no other Vermont stores are closing, two in New Hampshire — in Henniker and Nashua — will also be closing on Dec. 7.

Bill Dakin, whose law office is can be spied through the trees, will be moving accounts to People’s.

Sawicki said she expects most Chester TD Bank customers will transfer to the Bellows Falls store, despite the distance. “Unfortunately, the distances are a little farther. But we think they will be pleased with the Bellows Falls store. We don’t envision a drop-off in business.”

She added that all employees will be offered new assignments. “We do place all of our employees; our goal is all. But usually it ends up at more than 90 percent. Some people don’t want to move. But our Chester customers will see familiar faces at the other stores.”

As for the building, Sawicki said she’s “not sure what will happen. We won’t make a decision until the store closes. So we won’t even think about the building until then.” As for covenants attached to future uses of the building that would prevent it from housing another bank, Sawicki said, “Our legal and real estate teams will make those decisions.”

Will the bank lose customers?

Sharon Baker, owner of the clothing store Sharon’s on the Common off the Green in Chester, says she’ll “stick with TD. … I’ve done business with them for 15 years.” She added that she has no reason to switch. “I can deposit checks on a mobile app through my phone and I pretty much do all my banking on line.”  The only concern, she says, will be getting change for the shop.

On the other hand, Pat Budnick, owner of Motel in the Meadow on Route 11 West in Chester, said, “Absolutely not. I’m not going to Bellows Falls to deposit money and take out money. I don’t have time for that crap. It’s at least a 15-minute ride over and 15-minute ride back and add the time that it takes to do business.”

Attorney Bill Dakin, whose Dakin & Benelli law offices are next door to TD Bank, said his firm would be moving “the (accounts) in our control to People’s. Most are already there. But there are a few estates, office and trust accounts.” He added that “People’s is convenient and it’s local.”

The closing, he continued, “is a huge loss. It leaves an empty space.” Dakin, who is also president of the Chester Rotary, said that as for that TD Bank account, “Our board will have to review.”

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About the Author: Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor more than 40 years. Cynthia has worked at such publications as the Raleigh Times, the Baltimore News American, the Buffalo Courier Express, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Patuxent Publishing chain of community newspapers in Maryland, and has won numerous state awards for her reporting. As an editor, she has overseen her staffs to win many awards for indepth coverage. She and her family moved to Chester, Vermont in 2004.

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  1. When that bank was First Vermont Bank and Trust, it was the reason my family moved to Chester.

    My father was a loan officer there, when it occupied part of the space that is now the Fullerton Inn. Since it was across the street from the elementary school, my brother and I would go over after school and hang out for a while before walking home.

    We moved to Brattleboro when my father received a promotion 50 years ago. I feel a touch of sadness knowing that another piece of my Chester childhood will be gone soon.

  2. Sharon Jonynas says:

    I have been going to that bank building since 1985. I saw them through several name changes and many employees through the years. I agree with Pat Budnick that it’s too far for me to drive to Bellows Falls to do my banking. I’ll be switching to another bank with a branch in Chester. It’s sad, and the loss of the TD branch will leave the town with another empty building near the old Jiffy Mart building.

  3. Steve Hearne says:

    I don’t go there often but I have been a customer for many years. It seemed to me that people working there were always changing. I seldom saw the same people twice. I am going to miss TD in Chester.

  4. Barb Calhoun says:

    Surely a loss to Chester but not the end of the world.
    I thought the employees were wonderful and very helpful when I was in the middle of a stressful move.
    I think Pat Budnick could use the 15 min, actually a bit more I think, to chill out and enjoy the beautiful drive.
    It might help her remember why she’s in Vermont and how lucky she is.