PNC closing downtown Selbyville branch

Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant : The PNC Bank branch in Selbyville will close June 16.Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant : The PNC Bank branch in Selbyville will close June 16.Selbyville is losing one of its two banks this spring. The PNC Bank at the corner of Church Street and Main Street will permanently close its doors at 3 p.m. on Friday, June 16.

The ATM will remain on-site at 1 West Church Street immediately after the office closes, although there is no timeframe for that availability. It’s a higher-functioning ATM that can process deposits.

Why is the bank closing? Basically, PNC representatives said, people use machines more for banking, and PNC doesn’t need a two-story office building on Church Street anymore.

“Over the last several years, we have been going over an evaluation of our overall branch network,” said PNC spokesperson Marcey Zwiebel. “We’ve also just been looking at data that says the way customers use branches is changing. They’re increasingly using the convenient and alternative channels” — online, mobile or ATM banking — “for many of the basic transactions that they used to use the branch for… We’ve been taking a look at how we can support our customers when and how and where they want.”

The corporation notifies customers 90 days before branch closures. This is PNC’s only Delaware branch closure planned from January to July 2017.

Customer accounts are being transferred to the PNC location at 118 Main Street in Millsboro.

“Customers are still welcome to use any branch that’s most convenient to them, where they live or work. … They don’t have to use that location,” Zwiebel said of the Millsboro branch.

The other nearest locations are the Bayside location at 31231 Americana Parkway, Selbyville (West Fenwick), and the Ocean Pines location at 11045 Racetrack Road, Berlin, Md.

The company has asked if the Selbyville Town Council would consider allowing PNC to install a mini drive-though ATM in the town hall parking lot. Council members have briefly considered the possibility, although they said they were wary of allowing a private bank to lease public land. They said they thought a grocery store parking lot would be more appropriate.

If they approved the request, PNC staff would first evaluate the property to decide if an ATM would even fit properly. (Fenwick Island got a similar drive-up ATM a few years ago, when PNC abandoned that branch.)

“When we close or consolidate, we make every effort to place the employees in other locations,” Zwiebel added.

The corporate office did not share how many employees currently work or may be moved from that location, or any potential severance benefits for them. PNC employs 52,000 people across 19 states and Washington, D.C.

This may be the first time in 114 years that the Church Street property wasn’t a bank.

Founded in 1903, Baltimore Trust Company was one of the first banks in southeast Sussex County. It was founded by Selbyville resident John G. Townsend Jr., later Delaware governor, U.S. senator and founder of Townsend’s Inc. poultry company.

Baltimore Trust was merged to form the Mercantile Peninsula Bank in the 1990s, which was later purchased by PNC around 2008.

PNC Bank is headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa., and Delaware is part of the company’s Greater Maryland region.

“We have retail executives all over the country, so I can’t tell you specifically where that decision was made,” said Zwiebel of the move to close Selbyville’s location.

Selbyville Town Council members said they understood that the PNC property carries a no-compete clause for several years, so another bank could not immediately replace the empty building. Zwiebel said PNC can either own or lease the properties it uses. Sussex County’s mapping website lists Baltimore Trust Co. as the landowner, with a P.O. box address in Atlanta, Ga.

Selbyville Town Council members lamented the loss, especially, as they considered the bank a main draw that brings people downtown.

“We continue to work with the communities and support our communities where we do business, even if we no longer have a branch there,” which means providing financial education or philanthropic efforts locally, said Zwiebel.

It wasn’t Selbyville’s only bank, either. On Route 113, there is a WSFS Bank at the Strawberry Center, 38394 DuPont Boulevard, Selbyville.

For more information, customers can call PNC at 1 West Church Street at (302) 436-8236.