F&M Bank in Craigsville closes, county to discuss what to do with the building

Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 4:38 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV/WVIR) — The Augusta County Board of Supervisors tabled its decision Wednesday night on whether or not to accept the former bank property in Craigsville.

Craigsville’s only bank, F&M, closed at the end of July. Now, F&M wants to give the building and land in Craigsville not to the town, but to Augusta County, in order to provide some County services.

The Craigsville Librarian would like to see the Board accept the property and use it to help address space issues.

Craigsville’s mayor of 28 years, Richard Fox, feels differently and shared those thoughts with the Augusta County Board of Supervisors.

“I’m asking you to turn this deal down and let it sit there. It’s gonna be no advantage to the County,” Fox stated. “The only advantage is to the town, is that the town would try to have it try to get another bank.”

Board Chairman, Gerald Garber, responded.

“From my perspective, your best chance to have a bank in that building is if the County owns it,” Garber replied. “If you come with something... the action tonight is only to accept it. It’s not to do anything with it. And I don’t think given on what you’ve said we’d be in any hurry to do anything with it.”

Mayor Fox said he’d be more supportive if there were strings attached, saying the County couldn’t do with it what they wanted.

The Board tabled its decision for two weeks to work out some legalities.

Earlier report: After nearly 5 years of doing business in Craigsville F&M Bank closed its doors for good on July 31.

Now the question of what to do with the building is being raised.

Despite being the only bank in the town, the branch was not even close to breaking even.

“Most free-standing bank branches need a deposit base of 20-25 maybe $30 million to break even on the direct cost that it takes to run a branch,” CEO and President of F&M Bank, Mark Hanna said. “In the town of Craigsville, we were only about $7 million in terms of a deposit base.”

F&M Bank is still hoping to serve the town in some way.

Donating the building to the town for a new library is one idea being discussed.

"We thought that if our building was a good location for that, then we could be part of a solution to better helping the community," Hanna said.

They're also hoping to keep the bank in town through an electronic medium.

“Either an ATM or what we call in the industry, an ITM, which is, I think, an intelligent teller machine. Kind of one where you actually interface with a video screen and you’ve got somebody that is remotely handling your needs,” Hanna said.

The Augusta County Board of Supervisors will be considering whether to accept the building tonight during their regular meeting.

“I want to do whatever I can to help the economy out in Craigsville and help the people out there, and I certainly don’t want this to be a barrier for them,” Pastures District Supervisor Pam Carter said.

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