An institution that has existed in the Saxton community for nearly 118 years is closing its doors.

Customers of First National Bank of Saxton received letters on Monday advising them that the bank will close for the last time on Friday April 22.

The letter was signed by Director of Consumer Banking Barry C. Robinson. In her letter, Robison explained that based on an ongoing evaluation that helps the bank maintain an effective and efficient service network, she has decided to combine her Saxton office at 911 Church Street with her Martinsburg office. .

After the closure, Robinson assured customers they will still have access to their accounts at any First National Bank office they choose, including those in Martinsburg, Hollidaysburg and Bedford. Robinson also said the bank’s ATM kiosk at 708 Main St. will remain in place.

Customers were asked to contact a member of staff at the Saxton branch by 6 p.m. on Friday, April 8, to schedule the relocation of their safes and contents. A free safe deposit box rental of equal size will be offered for one year at all FNB branches where the service is available.

daily news contacted Robison for additional information about the closure, but no response was received.

The current bank opened in May 1972. Over the years, the bank changed its name from Penn Central National Bank to Omega Bank in 2001, then returned to its FNB roots in April 2008. However, the history of the First National Bank of Saxton actually dates back to June 1904.

The First National Bank of Saxton opened when the borough was only half a century old, having been established in 1854 around the Huntingdon & Broad Top Mountain Railway Prospects.

The founders were Dr. MB Brenneman, WH Sweet, CR Yohn, SB Stoler, DM Stoler, TC Fulton, WC Boyles, AE Yohn, JA Eichelberger, Dr. WE Brenneman, IK Little, PA Barnett, WWE Shannon and John Heffner, all of Saxton; Captain Eli Eichelberger and Hon. GW Derrick of Everett, AL Little of Bedford, OH Irvin and EMC Africa of Huntingdon, Thomas Wilson of Coalmont and PB Brenneman of Clinton, NJ Dr. MB Brenneman served as the first President.

The original bank, also on Church Street, started with just two small rooms, two employees and a bank statement of $73,138. It was remodeled four times during its years of existence, increased its number of employees, and expanded its bank statement to $8,120,086 in 1972.

At that time, the ground floor of the building also housed the community post office, a restaurant and a jewelry store in addition to the bank. As the bank grew, it occupied these spaces one by one until the entire floor was occupied by the bank.

By 1970 the bank had more than outgrown this facility and plans were drawn up for a new, fully modern facility.

Saxton Borough Mayor Alan Smith said First National Bank’s decision to permanently close its Saxton branch is not surprising given the changes that have taken place in the banking industry over the past 20 years. He said there had been the emergence of non-traditional banking options and a prevalence of online banking.

“So it was planned, a question not of if, but of when. Certainly for many seniors, probably a significant number of FNB branch customers in Saxton and people accustomed to traditional banking, there is no positive adjective to describe FNB’s action of closing the bank,” he said. “Closures like this are hurtful, sad, disruptive, inconvenient and very upsetting, in fact upsetting to a large group of customers and the whole community.”

Smith said this was obviously a business decision and not a people decision.

“Another issue for the community is becoming a vacant building and prospects for continued future use. I hope FNB will share business and demographic data if another financial institution is interested in the facility,” Smith continued.

When asked how the bank’s closure would affect the borough since many people pay their monthly water bills to the bank, Saxton Borough Council Chairman and Water Committee Chairman Lester Meck, said he doesn’t see this as a problem for the borough. Many customers, he said, still have the option of getting money orders to pay their bill or showing up at the borough office and paying it during regular business hours.