Houston residents lament bank withdrawal as city’s only bank to close in April

HOUSTON, Minn. (WKBT) — Residents of Houston are mourning the impending closure of Bremer Bank, the small city’s only bank.

The bank, which will close April 15, serves nearly 1,000 people and businesses in the small town.

“It’s kind of a feeling of, ‘Okay, is a little piece of us dying?'” Denise Rostad said.

Businesses wonder what the future holds.

“This is going to harm the community in and around Houston,” said Eric Hill, general manager of Root River Co-op.

The cooperative, which is located opposite the bank, brings customers after their bank visits. Hill worries that business will dwindle when the bank closes.

“We have a pretty slim margin here because we’re a small community co-op, so any drop in sales has a direct effect on us,” Hill said.

Other local businesses depend on the bank almost every day.

“We need money every day to do business,” said Karla Bloem, executive director of the International Owl Center. “We have to make deposits every day.”

For some people, Bremer Bank had long been a part of Houston history. Mayor David Olson is among those who have used the bank all their lives.

“Fifty years has been my bank,” Hill said. “And now it’s gone.”

In a statement to News 8 Now, Bremer says he is closing the Houston site and moving to online banking.

Mayor Olson said many people in his city, which has a large elderly population, are unable to bank online.

“As far as internet banking and stuff like that, they don’t want to do that because they can’t,” Olson said. “Most of them can’t.”

Some people and businesses have already found a new bank. The International Owl Center says he won’t stay with Bremer.

“Why would we stay with Bremer if we have to go to La Crosse or Winona to do our banking?” Bloom said. “I would rather support and have my money in a bank that supports our community.”

A community needs more support, Olson said.

“It just seems like one thing after another can’t do it,” Olson said.

“Our hope for the future is still survival,” Hill said.

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