The Mattituck Chamber of Commerce is protesting the planned closure next year of the community's branch of the Suffolk County National Bank, vowing to transfer its own account to a competitor.
The branch is one of six being closed by Suffolk County National under a program to "identify opportunities to significantly reduce operating expenses in order to become a more efficient and nimble organization," the bank announced last month.
But, in a letter to the editor of a local weekly newspaper, the chamber accused the bank of "forgetting the people who helped build Suffolk County National Bank and sustain it through hard financial times." The letter added, "The Chamber will not support a bank that does not feel Mattituck is important enough to maintain an office and current staff. When the bank closes, so will the Mattituck Chamber of Commerce's account."
A bank spokeswoman Thursday noted that Suffolk County National has another North Fork branch four miles away in Cutchogue, also on Main Road. "That's a thriving successful branch that can easily absorb the Mattituck accounts," said the spokeswoman, Mary Beth Kissane.
But Brooke Dailey, chamber president, said many area residents do most of their shopping in Mattituck's larger business district.
She said a bank executive vice president, Frank Filipo, contacted her after the letter was published and that they plan to meet next week.
The Mattituck branch manager, Janet Stewart, is a longtime chamber director. "She's done so much for the community," said Dailey. "The whole staff of that bank has been a fixture in the community."
Suffolk said it closed its Water Mill and Middle Island branches in October and planned to close the Mattituck, Port Jefferson Station, Manorville and Montauk Harbor branches by March 31, leaving 24, including a new one in Garden City, its first in Nassau.
It said closing the branches would save more than $2.4 million a year in operating expenses.
The bank said it had managed to retain 95 percent of the customers of its closed Water Mill and Middle Island branches.