Bank of America closes branch in Cascade Park area

It has five locations within a five-mile radius of the site

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter

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Bank of America closed its Cascade Park branch this month, as part of a companywide strategy to reduce the number of locations in areas already served by nearby branches, the bank confirmed Monday.

The branch ceased operations on Nov. 15 at 409 S.E. Chkalov Drive, Vancouver, as part of a cost-cutting strategy to eliminate branches across the nation as more customers switch to online and mobile banking. Bank of America has five other locations within a five-mile radius of the Chkalov Drive location, said Britney Sheehan, the bank's media relations manager.

"We felt we could efficiently serve our customers from the other branches," she said.

Sheehan would not disclose the number of employees affected by the Cascade Park branch closure. But she said all bank employees have found other work within the company.

The next nearest branch of Bank of America is at 13411 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd. in the Columbia Square shopping center.

Sheehan said letters about the closure and banking options were sent to customers midsummer. Since 2011, Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America has been closing branches — mostly in smaller communities — across the nation.

The rise of online banks, such as Ally Bank and others that operate without branches, may place additional pressure on traditional bankers to trim branches. However, Sheehan said Bank of America continues to see value in its retail bank branches.

"They are a cornerstone of how we build and maintain relationships with customers," she said.

The former Bank of America branch, a red-brick building with dual drive-through banking lanes, is a part of Cascade Park Plaza. The center is home to Trader Joe's, PetCo, Party City and Dollar Tree stores, among others. It is owned by Thrift Cascade Investment LLC, according to Clark County property records.