weather icon Partly Cloudy

County supports Beatty board on fighting bank closure

Nye County Commissioners on Tuesday voted to support an attempt by the Beatty Town Advisory Board to prevent the closure of the Washington Federal Bank, the only bank in that town.

Commissioners admitted they didn’t know what good the resolution would do.

The bank is scheduled to close Nov. 14.

An Aug. 25 letter from the Beatty Town Advisory Board states it would be the first time in over 30 years that Beatty didn’t have a local bank branch. Washington Federal Bank was formerly a Bank of America branch, located where Highway 95 makes a bend in the center of town.

Washington Federal acquired 23 Bank of America branches in Nevada and Arizona earlier this year.

At the time, Bank of America spokeswoman Colleen Haggerty said the sale was to find a community bank that would keep the branches open.

“The decision to sell these locations to a community bank rather than closing them was made to preserve as many jobs as possible and to ensure these communities will continue to be served with convenient local branches,” Haggerty said according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The acquisitions had left Seattle-based Washington Federal with 258 branches in eight western states. The acquisitions resulted in Washington Federal acquiring $610 million of deposits and $4 million worth of loans.

In a little over three months, customers were then told the local bank branch was closing. Signs were posted Aug. 15 notifying customers that once the location closes the nearest Washington Federal Branch is in North Las Vegas nearly 109 miles away.

The Beatty Town Advisory Board said it might have been better if Bank of America was honest and closed the Beatty location, so customers and employees would have retained relationships with one of the largest banks in the country, giving them greater access to their finances.

“Instead customers and employees were given a false sense of security in a much smaller institution with a much smaller network, with the same end result,” a Beatty Town Board letter to the commissioners read. “Jobs were lost and there will no longer be a brick and mortar banking presence in Beatty.”

The Beatty letter said the closure hurts people of low to moderate income who may not have the means to drive to Las Vegas, or business customers, utilities and civic organizations who need to conduct transactions that require the assistance of branch personnel.

The Pioche and Hawthorne branches are also being closed.

The Fedeal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991 requires an interstate bank proposing to close in a low to moderate income area is required to include in its notice to customers the mailing address of the appropriate federal banking agency. That would be Frank Hartigan, deputy regional director of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 25 Jessie St. at Ecker Square, Suite 2300, San Francisco, Calif. 94105. But the FDIC doesn’t have the authority to approve or prevent the branch closing.

A Sept. 18 letter to the Beatty Town Advisory Board from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said, “the banks decision to close the branch is a business decision that does not require the OCC’s approval. however, we will consider your comments in connection with our next Community Reinvestment Act evaluation of the bank when we will review the effect of the bank’s record of opening and closing offices. In addition we will take the bank’s record of performance under the CRA into account when we review applications by the bank to establish or relocate branches or to merge with other banks.”

Nye County Commissioner Lorinda Wichman, who represents Beatty, also voiced a sense of impotency.

“It’s not unreasonable for this board to deny an action that this board has no authority over,” Wichman said. “So I would like to propose a letter in support of the Beatty town advisory boards’s letter sent to Washington Federal Bank. That’s the only reasonable action we can take. I would like to show support for the town of Beatty. We cannot deny or approve or argue in any way a personal business’s choice.”

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Wild summer storms whip through Pahrump

As monsoonal moisture made its way across the southwestern portion of the United States over the last couple of weeks, much of the severe weather had missed Pahrump, until the night of Sunday, July 25 when a substantial summer thunderstorm finally broke over the valley, dumping rain and bringing fierce winds that wreaked havoc in certain parts of town, all the while illuminating the dark sky with streaks of lightning for a period of several hours. The storm let up in the late-night hours but revived with ferocity the next day and though wind speeds did not match Sunday’s, the storm on Monday brought even more rain than the previous night and resulted in extensive flooding throughout Pahrump.

New mask mandate effective on Friday, commissioners to discuss Nye County policy on August 3

Whether or not a person has been fully vaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19, come Friday, July 30, all residents and visitors in a dozen Nevada counties, including right here in Nye County, will be required to once again don a face mask when they are in public indoor settings.

Man allegedly exposes himself at Pahrump bar

A local man was taken into custody after allegedly exposing himself to a bar full of patrons and driving under the influence.

Purple Heart Day ceremony set for Pahrump Veterans Memorial

Pahrump and Nye County as a whole are both well-known for their support of the men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces and every year sees multiple military ceremonies to honor those who have proudly put on a uniform and offered their service in defense of the nation.

Nye County gold mine project acquired

Eminent Gold Corp. has acquired an option to purchase the Gilbert South Project located approximately 26 miles west of Tonopah, according to the press release.

ANGELICA PULIDO-HULL: Try a new Pahrump local shopping experience

The month of July is dedicated to local and independent retailers across the country. Before the end of the month, choose a Pahrump retailer you have not shopped at before to visit and show your community small business support.

Ringle wants recall

Beatty businessman Ed Ringle is looking to start a petition to recall two members of the Beatty Water and Sanitation Board of Trustees.

Nevada reimposes indoor mask mandate in high-transmission areas

Clark County would be affected by the directive from Gov. Steve Sisolak, which aligns with a new recommendation earlier in the day from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.