THERESA — Town and village residents have been without a local bank for 51/2 years, despite the state's efforts to encourage a branch's development.
"There's a need for it," village Mayor Timothy H. Tanner said. "Everyone would love to have one."
Redwood National Bank closed in August 2005. Two years later, the state Banking Department designated the town a Banking Development District, which makes a new bank eligible for up to $10 million in subsidized deposits from the state.
Of the 39 such districts the department had in June, only nine are outside the Buffalo and New York City areas.
The town had been served by banks as far back as 1872, when Yost Banking House opened on Commercial Street, according to Lenka P. Walldroff, the Jefferson County Historical Society museum's curator.
Today, however, residents must drive to banks in LaFargeville, Philadelphia or Watertown.
"They've gotten used to it," town Supervisor Clinton A. Coolidge said. "It would be beneficial to have a bank."
The town has a handful of automated teller machines in establishments, but none where customers can make deposits and other transactions, Mr. Tanner said.
Having a local bank opens access to credit, investments and services for individuals, businesses and organizations, according to the state Banking Department.
Upstate National Bank officials had expressed interest in opening a branch here in 2009, but didn't follow through.
Now that some time has passed, Mr. Tanner said, he hopes a bank again would consider opening a Theresa branch.
"If they come, it's a money-making operation," he said.