I was dismayed to learn of the imminent closure of Stony Brook village's Capital One branch. At first glance, that might seem rather insignificant. After all, we can just get in our cars and drive to another branch in another community. But that isn't the point.

A neighborhood bank is an essential part of any community. This branch in particular had that "friendly neighborhood banker" image.

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When Capital One took over in 2008, there were fears that the local atmosphere would be lost, as a relatively small bank became part of something much bigger. But those concerns proved to be unfounded as the branch remained remarkably close to what it had been.

The closing in April will leave the Main Street shopping area without a single bank. Gone will be the days when residents can take a walk into town, see a familiar face, and handle their finances in the way we're used to. This absence will be something to keep in mind the next time a big name takes over a community institution. The people who work in these establishments are a vital part of the neighborhood.

Eric Corley, Stony Brook