New London - A Bank of America branch in an imposing downtown building at 250 State St. will be closed as part of a company cost-reduction campaign.
T.J. Crawford, a Bank of America spokesman, said letters went out to customers last week informing them of the branch closure Aug. 17. He added that customers will be directed to two other full-service Bank of America branches in New London and Waterford that are both within 2 miles of the downtown banking center.
"Because of the foot traffic and other metrics, it doesn't make sense to operate two banking centers so close to one another," Crawford said in a phone interview.
The stately downtown building, which Bank of America acquired when it bought Fleet Bank in 2004, will be put up for sale, Crawford added. The Greek Revival structure with graceful columns and marble trim was built in the early 1920s as the National Bank of Commerce, which had roots in the city dating back to 1852.
"The banking industry was huge in New London from the 1700s until quite recently," said Sandra Chalk, executive director of New London Landmarks.
Bank of America policy is to not reveal how many bank employees will be laid off, but Crawford said those affected would be given assistance or other opportunities within the company.
Crawford said bank branches are constantly under review and that closures are decided on a case-by-case basis. A Bank of America at the Chester Town Hall is scheduled to close in June as part of a cost-containment campaign in which at least 750 banking centers nationwide will shut down.
In addition to closing branches, North Carolina-based Bank of America Corp. has been selling office buildings across the country as part of a streamlining effort. Earlier this year, the bank sold a 37-story office tower in Boston for $615 million, according to a report in The Boston Globe.
The struggling banking giant reported profits of $653 million in the first quarter of this year, down from $2 billion for the same period a year earlier.
Bank of America has about 5,700 branches nationwide and 150 in Connecticut.
A filing with the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, available online, showed that it received notice of Bank of America's intention to close the State Street branch May 4.