Oldest Bank In Falmouth Quietly Closes

Community members and former employees posed for a photo just before the Bank of America permanently closed on September 24. From left: Barbara Wiggins, Scott Peterson, Bruce S. MacKilligan and Joe Andrews.

The Bank of America branch on the Village Green closed its doors last week. The building, located at 84 Main Street, has been a bank for close to two centuries and was the oldest bank in Falmouth.

On Tuesday last week, September 24, just shy of 4 PM, lifelong customers and bank officers congregated in the bank’s lobby. They shared stories of time spent working in the building and interacting with the community.

Bruce S. MacKilligan conducted the final transaction at the bank. The ATM machines no longer function.

“I have a lot of history, so to speak, with that bank and with that building,” he said on Tuesday this week, October 1.

As a teenager, Mr. MacKilligan worked as a janitor at the bank, which was Falmouth National Bank at that time. He worked part-time during the school year and full-time over the summer. Mr. MacKilligan’s father, Donald B. MacKilligan, was an officer, vice president, and cashier at Falmouth National Bank until his death in 1969.

Shortly after his father’s death, Mr. MacKilligan was offered a position at Falmouth National’s new Cape Cod Mall location in Hyannis. In 1974 he was promoted from assistant vice president to vice president of the bank. In 1977 Mr. MacKilligan became the president of Falmouth National Bank.

“Hopefully the building will be retained as it is,” he said.

In the last moments at the bank, the small group took a tour of the interior, pausing in the offices and vault. “It’s a really beautiful bank inside,” said Joe Andrews, a longtime customer who was along for the tour. He added that the safe was the highlight of the building. It was large and still had safety deposit boxes lining the walls inside.

Mr. Andrews noted that he had started his coin collection as a child at Falmouth National Bank. In the early 1970s, Richard C. Sturtevant, a Falmouth National Bank officer, found an old nickel on the floor. “They were doing some kind of clean-up,” Mr. Andrews said. It was a buffalo head nickel from 1935. “I saved it, and that’s how I started my coin collection,” he laughed.

The small group included the bank’s last manager, Barbara Wiggins, who deferred comment to Bank of America media representatives. Mr. Andrews said Ms. Wiggins “treated it like it was a community bank,” despite being owned by a multinational banking corporation. “You walked into that bank and everybody was so friendly,” he added.

The bank building was built in 1821 as the first branch of Falmouth National Bank. The building underwent interior renovations in 1926, after 105 years of service. The exterior remained unchanged until 1951 and in 1957, the bank gained a second floor.

The building weathered multiple changes in ownership. In 1992, Falmouth National Bank merged with South Shore Bank, changing that name of the Village Green location for the first time in 171 years. The bank’s headquarters were relocated to Quincy, though it maintained branches in Falmouth and Fall River.

South Shore Bank merged with Fleet National Bank sometime after and then Fleet National Bank locations became Bank of Americas through a merger in 2004. The town assessor lists Fleet National Bank as the owner, though Bank of America now owns Fleet National properties.

Trevor Koenig, a regional spokesman for Bank of America, said that as of Wednesday, October 2, the company had no new statements on the closure or the building.

The property has not been listed for sale.

The property is, however, listed on the November Town Meeting Warrant. The town will seek approval to lease, purchase or take by eminent domain the 0.49 acres of land at 84 Main Street.

The future of the building is uncertain, but it is unlikely to remain a bank. In an email about the bank’s impending closure, Mr. Koenig noted that banking is continuously trending online. “Today, we have more than 27 million mobile banking customers and 37 million online consumers. As with clients across the country, many clients in Massachusetts have adopted our online and mobile banking offerings because of the convenience they provide,” he wrote in an e-mail on April 26.

Mr. Koenig directed customers to nearby Bank of America financial centers on East Main Street and on Falmouth Road in Marstons Mills.

(1) comment

Mairsy

Will the ATM in the parking lot still be available since the one in the lobby is gone? Shame that a beautiful building like that will be gone


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