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Fulton Savings Will Close River Glen Mall Branch, The Latest To Leave

<p>River Glen Mall, which has just four tenants left -- the Cutting Crew hair salon, Radio Shack, a dollar store and K-Mart.</p>
River Glen Mall, which has just four tenants left — the Cutting Crew hair salon, Radio Shack, a dollar store and K-Mart.

<p>The Fulton Savings Bank branch at River Glen Mall, which will close in mid-December.</p>
The Fulton Savings Bank branch at River Glen Mall, which will close in mid-December.

Yet another business is pulling out of the half-empty River Glen Mall.

Fulton Savings Bank will close its 15-year-old branch at the Route 481 shopping center on December 18.  No employees will lose their jobs, according to the bank’s CEO, Mike Pollock.  The bank’s lease expires not long after the closing.

“Shopping patterns have changed,” Pollock told Oswego County Today.com in explaining the change.  When the River Glen Mall branch opened, Miller Brewing Company, Nestle, Reynolds Metals and Owens-Illinois all were still in operation, all within a half-mile of the branch.  The new shopping center boasted the city’s largest grocery store and its only national department store, along with several specialty shops.

“This sucking sound happened and that was the end,” he said.  All of the factories closed and the shopping center is only half full, with the supermarket, two fast food restaurants, beauty supply store and a couple of clothing retail stores closed.  Pollock said the branch closing is not related to the decline of the shopping center and merely reflects the change in direction in the city from growth along the 481 corridor to growth along the Route 3 corridor.

A few years back, however, the bank bought the closed branch office of what was then Empire Federal Credit Union (now Empower FCU) on the city’s west side, in the parking lot of the former Pyramid Mall and, most importantly, a stone’s throw from the new Wal-Mart.

At the same time, more and more people do their banking outside of a bank, using automated teller machines (ATMs), bank-by-phone services and internet-based banking.

“I think that for the time being, brick and mortar (bank building) has slowed down quite a bit,” Pollock said.

Fulton Savings grew aggressively in the last decade, moving beyond the city it has called home for 138 years by opening branches in Hannibal, Central Square, Phoenix, Baldwinsville, Constantia and West Monroe as well as the branches in Fulton.  The Hannibal branch closed a couple of years ago and was folded into the new west side branch in Fulton.  A loan office operates in Oswego.

The bank’s main office is the county’s largest, holding more than $100 million in deposits, Pollock said.