The hamlet of Harrisville will be home to the next Northern Credit Union branch
May 9—HARRISVILLE — The northeast corner of Lewis County will have a bank again soon.
After three months of discussions, negotiations and planning, Northern Credit Union will be coming to Diana, filling the void left by Community Bank's closure at the end of last month.
Under an agreement with the town of Diana, Northern will temporarily set up shop in the former Harrisville health clinic building at 14214 Church St. in the hamlet of Harrisville.
Town Supervisor Zachary J. Smith is relieved to have a solution to the problem for his community.
"The general feel from people has been if they're here, they're going to support them," said Mr. Smith, "I think change is difficult for people but sometimes when you're forced to change it can be a blessing in disguise. I really hope people take advantage of this opportunity and get out there and support Northern Credit Union."
A letter signed by Mr. Smith and Northern Chief Executive Officer Daniel St. Hilaire announcing the new branch and asking for input from community members was sent out last week to community members within a 12-mile radius of the hamlet. It was received by a number of local residents with their Monday mail.
"Over the next few weeks, Northern will be working diligently on properly equipping the local health center as their temporary location," the letter states before asking community members to fill out a one-question online survey about what three days of the week they would like the bank to be open.
The hours of operation for the days will be varied — 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., noon to 5 p.m., and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. — "to meet everyone's needs" according to the survey.
Northern has added Saturday hours from 9 a.m. to noon at their Carthage branch at 88 Bridge St., and Gouverneur location, 145 E. Main St., "to assist new Harrisville members until the health center location is open."
"Having a bank in our town is necessary and I'm thrilled that Northern has decided to roll the dice with us," said Robert J. Bernhard, owner and operator of Harrisville Hardware. "This is a great hamlet and I'm confident that most of the people will support the new business."
A $25 gift card has been promised by the bank for anyone in the community that opens a new account to incentivize people to make the change.
The opening date and other details are not yet available and Northern will continue to look into the best spot for its permanent location, which could include the former Community Bank building in the center of the hamlet's business district, and a location for one of it's high-tech banking kiosks.
The credit union will not be able to help the towns of Diana and Pitcairn and the Harrisville Central School District with their banking needs because of state banking laws.
"Our community is great about supporting small, local businesses and I hope they continue to do so because small businesses are like small muscles: use 'em or lose 'em," Mr. Bernhard said.
Credit union personnel will be going through the building this week in preparation for outfitting it with whatever technology and security they may need to open.
Mr. Taylor said that although this is the perfect temporary location for the bank, efforts to get the health center up and running again are ongoing.
"What we have laid out is a temporary solution for a building while we figure out a long term location," he said. "Our goal is to have a provider in that building by the beginning of 2024. I really do believe that is a realistic goal. We're actively still in negotiations to find a provider."