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A Bank Flees, And A Company Cleans Up Its Mess

Helen Ubiñas

February 25, 2010

It's catch-up time, people. Just a couple of things that don't add up to a whole column, but that I thought you'd like to know about while I'm working on a profile of a Hartford pastor. Sorry; you'll have to wait on that one.

If you haven't already heard: Bank of America is closing its Barbour Street branch at 2 p.m. on March 26.

Word's been slow to spread, but as soon as Nelson Rabinovitch tells customers at his nearby laundromat, the response is always the same.

"What? Why?" Johnnie Gore, 68, wondered when I stopped by Wednesday.

Turns out, there's been a bank of some sort at Unity Plaza for decades, residents told me. So they don't understand why it's being closed.

"It really does a disservice to the residents," said Rabinovitch, who owns Erica's Laundromat.

More confusing to residents is the bank's decision to leave behind an ATM.

Why not just give another bank an opportunity to move in a full-service branch, they wondered? Fair question.

When I called Bank of America, a media representative said they periodically analyze customer use and found that more patrons were using nearby branches, including one less than a mile away on Main Street. The good news is that the branch's employees, who will be transferred to other branches, won't be losing their jobs.

But, he said, he couldn't speak to individual concerns.

That's OK. Gore, who walks with a cane, certainly can.

"We're senior citizens," she said. "We can't be hopping all over the place."

Rabinovitch is collecting signatures on a petition in hopes of keeping the branch open.

Judging by the conversation I had with the bank rep, I don't think the petition is going to make a difference.

Butt, stranger things have happened. Yesterday, I wrote about Aetna's ashtray of a sidewalk. Banned from smoking inside, employees were littering the area outside the employee garage on Flower Street.

In a word: nasty.

Less than 24 hours later, I did a triple-take Wednesday morning when I drove by and noticed that the heaps of butts were gone.

Impressed, I stopped to find out who was responsible. But no one would own up to the timely cleanup.

Employees on a cigarette break were much less chatty than the last time I stopped by. And the security guard I asked shrugged as if he had no idea what I was talking about.

Just as I was about to credit the Butt Fairy for making the butts — poof — disappear, Aetna spokesperson Fred Laberge cleared things up. It was probably the facilities staff, who, he said, pride themselves on a pristine campus.

Well done. But, as I said in my earlier column, an ash receptacle would probably take care of the problem and make a lot less work for everyone.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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