West End: Clallam Bay-Sekiu citizens woo replacement bank

CLALLAM BAY — Sterling Savings Bank is collecting information from West End businesses and residents to determine whether a bank can be opened in the community.

In October, it was announced that the Bank of America branch in Clallam Bay — the only bank that serves the northwestern tip of the Olympic Peninsula — will close its doors Jan. 28.

Bank of America officials said they are closing the branch because of the low volume of business it does.

“I can’t tell you we are opening a bank here — that has not been determined yet,” said Michael P. Miller, vice president/business banking for Sterling Savings Bank, during Wednesday’s Clallam Bay-Sekiu Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

“We need to evaluate if it can be profitable for us before making any decision.”

Sterling officials asked chamber officials to speak during the meeting.

About 40 people attended the meeting and spoke about the need for a bank in the community of an estimated 1,600 people in Neah Bay and 1,200 people in the Clallam Bay-Sekiu area.

Financial information

Miller said during the next several weeks, he hopes to collect financial information from businesses and individuals in Neah Bay, Clallam Bay, Sekiu and the surrounding area.

But he did not say when a decision could be made.

“We are used to having banks in small communities,” he said.

“But we are responsible to our shareholders, and must be able to show that opening a branch here would be a responsible thing to do.”

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