TrustCo plans new branch near gateway to Arbor Hill

At a time when financial institutions are increasingly turning to “unbanked” consumers for growth, T

At a time when financial institutions are increasingly turning to “unbanked” consumers for growth, TrustCo Bank Corp is opening shop on a busy intersection at the gateway to the city’s Arbor Hill neighborhood.

TrustCo next month plans to relocate its 163 Central Ave. branch to the wedge-shaped building at the corner of Central and Henry Johnson Boulevard. The opening will come about 30 months after a car crashed into the Flatiron-style building’s vacant storefront, killing its driver and concluding an early morning police chase.

Banners announcing the new branch were recently hung outside the red brick building at 40 Central Ave. But TrustCo Vice President and Treasurer Kevin Timmons said the bank does not plan to use the new location to specifically target consumers who lack savings or checking accounts. “We just want to have a fair shot at getting new customers,” said Timmons.

Attempting to tap into the nation’s unbanked demographic, the KeyBank in February 2007 announced a check-cashing service for consumers without bank accounts. The Cleveland-based bank rolled out its low-fee check cashing service called KeyBank Plus in seven metropolitan regions, including at 20 offices around Albany.

SEFCU has also courted the city’s unbanked by opening in 2004 a branch on Clinton Avenue, providing Arbor Hill with its first new financial institution in recent memory.

Timmons said TrustCo does not have a formalized fee-based check cashing service for non-customers similar to KeyBank Plus. Due to leasing issues, the Glenville-based bank last year relocated another city branch to Crestwood Plaza.

Timmons was not familiar with the March 2006 incident in which a 31-year-old Albany man crashed his luxury sedan into the building at the corner of Henry Johnson and Central.

After being stopped by troopers on Interstate 90, Randy W. Russell sped away, beginning a nearly two-mile pursuit. He led troopers through Arbor Hill along Henry Johnson before fatally crashing his 1995 Lexus into the building.

Categories: Business

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