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Houston’s Bremer Bank to close in April, leaving residents and businesses in limbo

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 11:08 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – “I don’t think they’re really giving any consideration as to what type of town we have,” said Houston Mayor David Olson. “Let’s face it, a town this size needs a bank.”

“We’re kind of up in the air. And, a lot of customers have been coming in, making comments, what are you gonna do? How am I gonna do this? How’s our town gonna survive?” said Chris Cox, an owner of of Cox True Value Hardware in Houston.

As family-run business, Cox True Value Hardware deposits money at the town’s Bremer Bank six days a week.

“We’ve been here 42 years, we banked at this bank for, it’s changed hands multiple times, they got us started in the business,” said Cox.

When the Bremer bank closes its doors on April 15, they aren’t really sure what comes next.

“We don’t know, it’s just, we’re just up in the air right now. Where do we get change? Where do we, when we’re out and I don’t have it because I didn’t get it in time,” said Cox.

Other businesses will have to figure out next steps as well.

“The local grocery store, the hardware store, the businesses in town, where will they go to deposit money?” said Houston resident Kristie Fingerson.

In a written response, Bremer Bank says it is closing due to digital adoption across the banking industry. However, Houston residents skew older and would prefer in-person options.

“They’re not use to doing internet banking or anything like that online, not only that, they don’t trust it,” said Olson.

“They don’t feel confident in online things, they don’t have cellphones,” said Cox.

The nearest banking option is not convenient either, and is at least a 20 minute drive from the town.

“It’s really convenient for me because I work long days, you know, I get out early on Fridays but I like to keep my Fridays open, so,” said Houston resident Robert Stacy.

“Will we have to travel out of town, 15 minutes or longer, to try to find another place to bank?” said Fingerson.

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