PNC Financial Services has reversed its decision to close one of its Springfield branches. The facility in the 800 block of South 11th Street is one of the few remaining banks serving the city’s east side.
Ward 2 Alderman Shawn Gregory said the closure would’ve been another economic blow for that part of Springfield.
“I try to bank in my community, I try to eat in my community, and shop here,” Gregory said. “When you have those things, you can recycle funds back to the community to make it grow, and when you don’t, the community continues to die.”
Recently, banks like Chase have removed ATM’s, making it harder for residents on the east side to access their own money.
Numerous other financial institutions have closed facilities, reflecting a national trend of banks abandoning majority-Black neighborhoods.
State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) said when banks close in majority-Black communities, it leads to more inequality.
Manar, who also represents part of Springfield, pushed back when PNC notified him last week that it would close the east side branch in September.
Manar applauded the reversal announced this week and said the closure would’ve hurt small businesses on the east side.
“If there isn’t access to capital, and there isn’t access for the availability to get a loan, then the chance of a small business succeeding or even starting is almost zero,” the senator said.
Manar said there are small, white, rural communities that are facing the same challenges, and banks must do better serving communities that may not produce them the biggest profit, or biggest return on investments.
According to Manar, Alderman Gregory and Alderwoman Doris Turner, helped put together some valuable points articulating the challenges faced by Wards 2 and 3 in Springfield.
“This isn’t a permanent victory for the sizable challenge that we face,” said Manar. “It’s a victory for the Springfield area, but we still have deep and generational challenges that we have to solve.”