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Penns Valley will lose a bank branch. What does that mean for rural customers?

First National Bank will close its location in Centre Hall on April 12, the branch confirmed Friday.

The move follows the closures of local FNB branches in Snow Shoe in late 2016 and in Rebersburg in 2011. Pittsburgh-based FNB Corp. closed 20 branches between May and mid-October 2018 as part of a consolidation plan, according to the Central Penn Business Journal.

Fifteen of those branches were in Pennsylvania, including locations in Berks, Lancaster, Cumberland and Allegheny counties, the newspaper reported.

Besides an FNB branch in Millheim, there are few brick-and-mortar bank outposts in Penns Valley. Jersey Shore State Bank has locations in Centre Hall and Spring Mills; Northwest Bank has a location in Centre Hall; and Mifflinburg Bank and Trust has a location in Millheim.

Tom and Jen Snyder, who live in Madisonburg, said the FNB branch closing in Centre Hall will make it more difficult for rural residents with poor internet connections to complete their banking. For the Penns Valley region, which has many areas of limited or no broadband access, online banking isn’t always an option.

“There’s still a lot of people out here that would go (to the Centre Hall FNB), but now they can’t,” Tom Snyder said.

The Snyders use a mobile hotspot that provides internet access through a cellular connection. There’s no way they’d be able to do mobile banking through their home internet connection because its upload and download speeds are so slow, they said.

Besides the Boalsburg and Millheim locations, there are eight FNB locations in the State College area and one in Bellefonte. After the Snow Shoe location closed, a Jersey Shore State Bank replaced it.

A corporate FNB representative did not respond to a request for comment late Friday. It wasn’t immediately clear whether any job cuts will accompany the Centre Hall branch closure.

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