Posted: Sep 23, 2020 / 11:03 PM CDTUpdated: Sep 23, 2020 / 11:14 PM CDT
HOLLY BLUFF, Miss. (WJTV) – If businesses and people who live around Holly Bluff in the South Delta want to do banking after Oct. 30. they’ll have to drive almost 30 miles.
The communities only bank, BankPlus announced its closing its doors.
Their only gas station burned down, general stores have closed and soon there will be no bank in Holly Bluff. This is a burden farmers and business owners who call this place home see cutting them off from doing their finances.
“It’s very heartbreaking for our community to lose our bank,” Junae Brooks, who owns a cafe in town.
For over five decades BankPlus has been the only outlet Holly Bluff and surrounding farmers had to cash checks, discuss loans, and secure money. When customers like Brooks received word it was closing her only option was driving almost 30 miles to Yazoo City.
“I have to ask people to help me, I personally don’t get to go to town and I’m normally in Holly Bluff all the time,” Brooks added. “We have some people that’s been three weeks without cashing a check.”
On the BankPlus website the company says they hold more than $4.5 Billion in total assets and support 80 financial centers in three states, but in a statement told us “continued operation of this office is no longer viable given a decline in customer activity which pre-dates COVID-19”. Business Owners like Junae still say it mattered to many even outside the town.
“A lot of my deer hunters and squirrel hunters have opened an account just because it was in Holly Bluff,” Brooks continued. “So I’ve had numerous hunters call devastated BankPlus is now closed.”
The situation is no better for farmers and their employees stuck in the fields for more than 12 hours with only days off to drive over half an hour to the nearest BankPlus.
“It’s not fun keeping that large of checks on hand like in a bundle,” Farm Hand Dieter Klue said. “That’s just dreadful knowing all your money is just sitting there for taking.”
BankPlus added customers have many ways “to conduct free online banking with mobile check deposits and person-to-person payments”. But the elderly in the community say they don’t have those digital resources to keep up.
Those we spoke to call on other banking companies like Bank of Yazoo or Anguilla to look at opening up an outlet at this property and the town will greatly benefit from it.
For the full statment we received from BankPlus see the image below.