Capital One Banks to Close Permanently

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Capital One Bank is closing on the peninsula. Last week, customers started receiving letters advising them that the Rockaway Park and Far Rockaway branches of the bank will be closing in May, leaving customers wondering what steps they should take.

Letters for local customers started to roll in last week, saying that the Rockaway Park branch at 116-01 Rockaway Beach Blvd. will officially close at the end of the day on May 8 and the Far Rockaway branch at 20-10 Mott Ave will officially close at the end of the day on May 9. The news may have come as a surprise to some, but the closures are following a recent trend for Capital One banks, which cut 32 percent of its branches nationwide just between 2012 and 2017. Last year, that trend continued. In June 2018, the bank announced that it would be closing 16 of its branches in Long Island and six of its Queens branches in September 2018. Now both of Rockaway’s branches are on the chopping block for 2019.

When questioned about the decision to close the local branches, a Capital One spokesperson kept it vague. “Our Bank leaders recognize the effect closing these two branches will have on our customers and do not take it lightly. As Capital One continues to evolve and optimize our branch network in response to changing customer banking preferences and to ensure we’re operating as efficiently and effectively as possible, decisions are made to open, renovate, and in some instances, close or relocate branches. We regularly review our entire branch network,” Capital One spokesperson Amanda Landers said.

The Rockaway Times went to the Rockaway Park branch to find out more, but even the staff admitted that they didn’t know much. A teller explained that they weren’t told why the banks are closing. The only good thing for the employees is that they will be able to keep their jobs, but will be moved to other branches. Landers also confirmed this, saying, “As part of this consolidation, we were able to ensure all of our associates could maintain their positions and move to other branches.”

Some local customers believe the closures are being done so Capital One can transition more into an online banking service. In her response, one of the options Landers suggested was for customers to become more familiar with the online and mobile banking tools. “We encourage our customers to give us a call or stop by their branch to ask us any questions before it closes, so that we could show them the available options to bank at any time with Capital One with tools such as online/mobile banking and bill pay,” she said.

What other options may customers have? Travel. Some customers have already said they’ll be looking for other area banks to do their business with. However, Capital One maintains that accounts won’t be impacted by the closures and customers can continue to visit other branches. “There will be no changes to our customers’ accounts or their account numbers. As always, customers can visit any Capital One branch and receive the same level of account access and high-quality service they’ve come to expect. We’re working hard to make this transition as smooth as possible,” Landers said. If customers want to continue utilizing Capital One branches, there are some options including branches in Cedarhurst, Howard Beach and inside Kings Plaza in Brooklyn. There are also local ATMs that allow Capital One customers to take out cash without being hit with fees. Visit CapitalOne.com and enter your zip code to find your nearest ATM.

As for what will come of the local branches after they close? That’s still up in the air. As of press time, Landers did not provide an answer and tellers at the Rockaway Park location said they did not know what would happen with the building. Some Capital One locations that have closed have been turned into banking cafes, where customers can still do limited banking while enjoying coffee and other treats, however there was no word on if this will take place at either of the Rockaway branches.

The closure of the Rockaway Park branch would be another hit for Beach 116th, which has already seen a number of businesses close over the past year including Paper Panda, Paninico, Blue Bungalow and Dunkin Donuts. The bank closure could also be the end of history for the Rockaway Park branch. The building has been a bank since it was built in the 1970s. The building has undergone some name brand changes over the years, but has always been a bank, from Century Federal Savings in the ‘70s to Home Savings of America in the 80s and early 90s, to Green Point Bank and North Fork Bank in the 2000s, to the Capital One that it is now since about 2008. The bank became a big draw for people as one of the only local banks that offered drive-through service. However, with these closures, it seems that customers will soon be driving elsewhere. 

For more information on the closures and possible options, head to your nearest Capital One branch before May, or visit CapitalOne.com or call 1-800-655-2265.

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